Erdoğan cancels press conference amid crisis with US

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (2nd R) and his wife Maryna (R) welcome Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2nd L) and his wife Emine (L) during a ceremony ahead of a the meeting in Kiev on October 9, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Sergei SUPINSKY

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday cancelled a planned press conference at İstanbul Atatürk Airport as a visa crisis that erupted following the arrest of a US Consulate General staff member on Oct. 4 deepens, Cumhuriyet reported.

Erdoğan left the airport for Ukraine at 11:55 after a last-minute decision to cancel the press conference.

Istanbul Consulate General staff member Metin Topuz was arrested late on Oct. 4 on espionage charges and alleged links to some leading members of the faith-based Gülen movement.

Speaking to a group of journalists in İstanbul on Friday, John Bass, the departing US ambassador to Turkey, said some in the Turkish government are motivated by “vengeance rather than justice,” voicing concern at coverage in pro-government media outlets of the arrest of Topuz.

The US Embassy in Ankara on Sunday announced that it had suspended all non-immigrant visa services at its diplomatic facilities in Turkey.

Hours after the release of the statement, the Turkish Embassy in Washington announced that it had suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all Turkish diplomatic missions in the US.

The Turkish Embassy in Washington retaliated by copying and reversing the US statement.

Local media on Monday revealed that Turkish authorities issued detention warrant for another US consulate staff member over Gülen movement links on Sunday morning. Police were unable to detain him because he has remained in the consulate building.

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