Turkey has stated that outgoing US Ambassador John Bass, is no longer a legitimate representative of a foreign state.
Turkey has rejected holding any meetings with outgoing US Ambassador to Turkey, John Bass. While outgoing ambassadors typically meet with ministers of state and even heads of states, President Erdogan and his leading ministers have instead taking the opportunity to slam the United States for refusing to cooperate with Ankara over the arrest of two US consular workers alleged to have ties with the terrorist organisation of Fethullah Gulen.
Turkey has been further infuriated that the US has closed its visa issuing facilities in Turkey as a result of the arrest of the two alleged terrorists who had worked for the United States.
Speaking in Belgrade where Turkey is currently looking at expanding economic opportunities with its old Serbian rival, President Erdogan said the following about the outgoing US Ambassador,
“The ambassador is currently paying farewell visits but neither our ministers, nor the parliament speaker, nor myself have accepted these farewell visits because we do not see him as the representative of the US in Turkey”.
Erodgan continued, accusing the US of directly aiding the alleged terrorists. He stated,
“”How did those spies infiltrate into the US Consulate? If they did not infiltrate, who put them there? No state would allow such spies that could threaten it from the inside”.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also spoke of Ankara’s rejection of the US Ambassador, stating,
“Turkey is a state of law. Does the fact that he who committed a crime or is accused of a crime is (a member) of an American mission give him any privileges? Does that mean we have to seek the permission of the (US Ambassador) gentlemen? Do we need their consent?”.
The Turkish PM then lashed out at the US restriction on visas for Turkish citizens,saying,
“Who are you punishing? You are making your citizens and ours pay the price, this is not being serious. You can’t run a country with emotional decisions”.
He added, “Turkey is not a tribal state, we will retaliate against what has been done in kind”.
These are the strongest statements to-date, expressing Turkey’s anger at the US.
‘In Turkey, the US has picked a fight with a country not afraid to fight back’
When Barack Obama seized Russian Embassy property and insultingly threw Russian diplomatic staff and their young families out of the United States at a moments notice in December of 2016, Russia responded by inviting the young children of US Embassy staff in Russia, to a Christmas party.
The idea was that in shaming Obama’s lack of grace and adherence to international law and protocol, Russia would be ‘taking the high road’ and pave the way for a quick rapprochement under the seemingly more amiable Donald Trump.
The high road turned out to be a road to nowhere as the Trump administration, far from working to solve the crisis, has only escalated the problem by seizing even more Russian diplomatic and consular property in the US.
When it comes to Iran, short of targeting US assets in the Middle East, there is little Iran can do to retaliate against the US as Iran’s economic system is not tied into that of the US and hasn’t been for decades. Likewise, the US no longer operates any diplomatic or consular facilities in Iran.
But with Turkey, the United States is going to understand what instant retribution feels like, from a nation that is uniquely placed to extract vengeance and one with a track record of doing so.
The proximate cause of the current Ankara-Washington row is as follows: Turkey arrested a US consular worker who allegedly has ties to the terrorist organisation of the exiled Turkey cleric Fethullah Gulen. After the arrest, the US withdrew its visa issuing consular services in Turkey.
Hours later, Turkey decided to do the same in respect of Turkish consular services in the United States.