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Turkish PM Says Visa Dispute with U.S. Must be Fixed Quickly

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim delivers a speech as he attends an Iftar (fast-breaking) Dinner with martyr families during Islamic holy month Ramadan at the Cankaya Mansion in Ankara, Turkey on June 26, 2016. (Getty)

REUTERS: The United States has punished Turkish and U.S. citizens alike by suspending visa services, Turkey’s prime minister said on Tuesday, accusing Washington of taking an emotional and inappropriate decision against an ally.

Binali Yildirim said the dispute should be resolved as soon as possible, but defended Turkey’s arrest of a U.S. consulate employee last week which prompted the U.S. move, and its reciprocal visa suspension within hours of the U.S. move.

“Turkey is not a tribal state, we will retaliate against what has been done in kind,” Yildirim told ruling AK Party parliamentarians.

“We call on the United States to be more reasonable. The issue must of course be resolved as soon as possible,” he said, describing U.S. behavior as “unbecoming” of an ally.

“Who are you punishing? You are making your citizens and ours pay the price, this is not being serious. You can’t run a country with emotional decisions,” Yildirim said.

The arrest of the consulate employee comes after months of tensions, and Yildirim spelt out Turkish grievances including U.S. support for Kurdish fighters in Syria, a U.S. court case against a senior Turkish banker and former minister, and Ankara’s request for the extradition of a U.S.-based cleric.

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