Turkish PM Yıldırım slams US visa measures, questions relations
The United States’ decision to suspend visa services in Turkey “does not comply with the alliance” and Washington should use “common sense,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Oct. 10.
“The U.S has taken a decision which did not comply with the alliance,” Yıldırım said at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) group meeting at parliament.
He added that the suspension of visa services in Turkey “punishes ordinary citizens” and the problem must be resolved immediately “through dialogue.”
The U.S. on Oct. 8 suspended non-immigrant visa operations at all diplomatic facilities in Turkey, saying it was reassessing Turkey’s commitment to the security of U.S. facilities and personnel. Ankara retaliated by suspending all non-immigrant visa services for U.S. citizens.
Yıldırım claimed that security concerns were “not the real reason” behind the decision to suspend the visa service because the Turkish government had offered additional security measures upon an earlier request by the embassy, but the U.S. mission refused.
He said Turkish prosecutors are investigating certain people working in U.S. diplomatic missions for possible links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), stressing that “no one is above the law in Turkey” and Ankara “does not need Washington’s permission” to prosecute Turkish citizens.
“Did you ask us before jailing a deputy director general of one of our state banks when on duty in your country?” Yıldırım said, referring to Hakan Atilla, the deputy general manager of Turkey’s Halkbank who was arrested in the U.S. for alleged violations of sanctions against Iran.
“And why are you still harboring the heinous head of the July 15 coup attempt?”
He also again slammed the U.S. for its ongoing support to the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“The U.S. should immediately abandon embracing the YPG if our alliance is to continue. Doing business with our enemies does not suit the nature of alliance,” Yıldırım said.