Turkey's president on Thursday said Ankara’s “strategic partnership” with Washington shouldn’t end due to an “impertinent” ambassador, laying the blame for the countries’ row at the envoy’s feet.
"I am saying this clearly and vividly, it is the ambassador here that created this incident. It is unacceptable for the U.S. to sacrifice Turkey's strategic partnership for an impertinent ambassador. It is impossible for us to say 'yes' to this," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a gathering of provincial governors in the capital Ankara, referring to outgoing U.S. Ambassador John Bass.
Erdogan added: "What a shame if the great United States of America is being governed by an ambassador in Ankara. Because this is the position they are holding. They should have said, 'You cannot treat my strategic ally this way, you cannot act this way.' But they couldn't say this."
The U.S. Embassy last week announced the suspension of non-immigration visas for Turkish nationals following the arrest of a Turkish employee at the U.S. Istanbul Consulate, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Ankara.
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