NATO chief urges US, Turkey to end row

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday urged the US and Turkey to find a solution to a recent crisis in relations between the two key members of the military alliance after a court arrested a Turkish staff member of the US Consulate General in İstanbul.

During an interview with AFP on Friday, Stoltenberg said, “I only urge the United States and Turkey to sit down and find solutions because it is important for the alliance that we are able to work closely together, especially in that region, because Turkey is a key for our fight against terrorism.”

Stoltenberg also said NATO was ready to help in solving the spat between the two key NATO allies.

The diplomatic crisis erupted after Turkey on Oct. 4 arrested Metin Topuz, a staff member of the US Consulate General in İstanbul, on espionage charges and alleged links to some leading members of the faith-based Gülen movement.

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

Hours after the US decision, the Turkish Embassy in Washington DC also announced that it had halted all visa services in the US.

Turkey is a key player for NATO in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and the US relies heavily on the airbase at İncirlik in the country’s south to launch air strikes against ISIL terrorists in neighboring Iraq and Syria.

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