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Erdogan says US decision to halt Turkey visas ‘very saddening’

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (L) welcomes his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) as they review the guard of honour during a welcome ceremony ahead of a the meeting in Kiev on October 9, 2017. SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said he was sad about a decision by the US embassy to stop all regular visa services in Turkey amid a diplomatic row.

“Above all, this decision is very, very saddening,” Erdogan said in his first reaction to the decision, at a news conference with Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in Kiev.

“For the (US) ambassador in Ankara to take a decision like this, to put into practice is saddening,” he added.

The row, which analysts have described as the worst dispute between the NATO allies in half a century, erupted when Turkey jailed a Turkish employee working at the US consulate in Istanbul.

Ankara hit back at the US move to suspend the issuing of non-immigrant visas with a tit-for-tat response against American citizens in the United States wishing to travel to Turkey.

Erdogan defended Turkey’s reaction to the crisis, saying: “Turkey is a state with the rule of law, we are not a tribal state.”

He noted that the announcement by the Turkish embassy in Washington announcing the visa suspension had on purpose imitated the language used by the US embassy.

“Based on the principle of reciprocity, our embassy in America should give exactly the same text as they give,” he said.



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