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Turkish, U.S. Officials To Meet To Work On Settling Dispute


U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara in March

Turkish and U.S. officials have agreed to meet to work on resolving a diplomatic crisis between the two NATO allies after "constructive" talks between their diplomats, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said October 12.

The dispute was sparked by the arrest of two local employees at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul on espionage charges, prompting the United States to suspend nonimmigrant visa services there on October 8.

Ankara responded in kind, immediately suspending visas for U.S. citizens.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke by phone with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on October 11 and voiced "profound concern" about the arrests, the U.S. State Department said.

Bozdag told broadcaster Haberturk that the conversation was "very constructive" and said that "representatives from both sides decided to meet and work together."

U.S.-Turkish relations were already strained over U.S. military support for Kurdish fighters in Syria and Washington's reluctance to extradite Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara claims masterminded a failed military coup in July 2016. He denies involvement.

With reporting by Reuters