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Turkish Officials to Boycott Meetings with US Ambassador: Erdogan

Turkish Officials to Boycott Meetings with US Ambassador: Erdogan

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass on Wednesday demanded Turkey provide clear evidence for linking a detained consular staff to illegal activities, amid an ongoing diplomatic crisis.

Erdogan, however, said the meeting would not be held.

Metin Topuz, a long-standing USA consulate employee, was arrested last week over alleged ties to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, which is said to have orchestrated last year's attempted coup in Turkey.

USA pastor Andrew Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for over 20 years, has also been behind bars for a year for alleged links to Gulen.

Bass dismissed Turkey's accusations against Topuz as "baseless".

The Turkish Embassy in Washington responded with a similar statement on Twitter late Sunday and said it would "reassess the commitment of the Government of the United States to the security of Turkish mission facilities and personnel".

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The U.S. and Turkey on Sunday mutually suspended non-immigrant visa services to each other's citizens, a move that has further soured the ties between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday stepped up one of the worst rows in decades between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies by saying Turkey no longer regarded ambassador John Bass as the U.S. representative in the country. "I should say this clearly: We do not see him as the representative of the United States of America in Turkey".

"Turkey had arrested this year two of our locally employed staff in different locations and then had called in a third staff member just over the weekend", she said.

Bass is soon to leave Turkey for Kabul to take up his new post as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan.

The dispute has plunged already fragile relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to a new low after months of tension linked to the conflict in Syria, last year's failed military coup in Turkey, and US court cases against Turkish officials.