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U.S. still seeking explanation for arrest of staff in Turkey - ambassador

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U.S. still seeking explanation for arrest of staff in Turkey - ambassador

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ANKARA (Reuters) – The United States is still seeking an explanation from Ankara for the detention of U.S. mission staff in Turkey which led Washington to suspend issuing visas in Turkey, ambassador John Bass said on Wednesday. Bass, blamed by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for prompting the dispute, told reporters the United States did not intend to disrupt a long-standing relationship with Turkey and the two countries would continue to engage on the issue. “Unfortunately… the U.S. government still has not received any official communications from the Turkish government about the reasons why our local employees have been detained or arrested,” Bass said. The United States says two locally employed consulate staff have been arrested in Turkey this year. The second arrest at the Istanbul consulate last week led to the U.S. announcing on Sunday it had halted issuing non-immigrant visas in Turkey – a move reciprocated within hours by Ankara. The dispute has plunged already fragile relations between the two NATO allies to a new low after months of tension linked to the conflict in Syria, last year’s failed military coup in Turkey, and U.S. court cases against Turkish officials.

(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz and Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans)
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