Turkish president blames US envoy for diplomatic crisis

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the US ambassador to Turkey on Tuesday for a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. In a personal attack on outgoing Ambassador John Bass, Erdogan suggested the envoy had acted unilaterally in suspending visa services in Turkey after the arrest of a US consulate worker, and said “agents” had infiltrated US missions, Reuters reports. “An ambassador in Ankara taking decisions and saying he is doing so in the name of his government is strange,” Erdogan said. The embassy said allegations that the arrested employee had links to Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of orchestrating the failed coup against Erdogan last year, were baseless. Erdogan claimed the arrest showed “there is something cooking in the US consulate in Istanbul.” Bass is due to leave the country within days to take up a posting in Afghanistan. “Our ministers, parliamentary speaker and myself did not accept and will not accept his request [for farewell audiences] because we do not see him as a representative of the US,” Erdogan said.