Addressing an audience of regional governors on Thursday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey “does not need Washington,” Hurriyet reports.
Erdoğan went on to accuse elements of the Obama Administration in the US State Department of undermining relations with President Trump. In a language of increasing bravado, the Turkish President charged the US Ambassador with being personally responsible for undermining Ankara’s relationship to Washington.
Last Sunday, October 8, Washington moved to suspend visas for Turkish citizens. Turkey responded in kind. The move follows the arrest of the US Consulate employee Metin Topuz over suspected links with the network of the Philadelphia-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkey holds Gulen responsible for the July 15, 2016 attempted coup.
On Wednesday, US Ambassador John Bass in Turkey stated that the decision for visa suspension was taken by the U.S. government, with the recommendation of both the State Department and the National Security Council.
President Erdoğan accused Bass and State Department insiders of undermining the relationship between Ankara and Washington. However, the cleavage between the two NATO allies goes deeper. Washington has arrested the Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, who is linked to the Turkish President personally and politically.