Visa services change upset Turkish official

ISTANBUL (TNS) — Turkey no longer recognizes the U.S. ambassador to Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday, toughening his rhetoric amid a worsening row with the United States, sparked by the arrest of a U.S. consulate employee.

“We do not recognize him as the representative of the United States of America in Turkey, I say this quite openly,” Erdogan said about John Bass during a news conference while on a trip to Serbia.

It was an escalation from the day before, when the Turkish leader had only expressed sadness over the row.

On Sunday, the U.S. stopped offering non-immigrant visa services in Turkey, citing security concerns. Hours later, Turkish missions in the U.S. took a similar step and also froze U.S. passport holders out of an electronic visa system.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. decision was coordinated with the White House.

The Turkish president said that if the suspension of visa services was decided at the top levels in Washington, then Ankara has nothing more to discuss with the U.S.

— dpa