US-Turkey tensions escalate over Washington’s criticism of Ankara

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US Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone

Tensions between the United States and Turkey have flared up as Washington says its ambassador to Ankara declared nothing new in his recent critical comments leveled against the Turkish judiciary system.

“This is nothing new from our point of view. We have always been very clear on these issues before the public and during private meetings,” said US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland during her daily press briefing on Thursday.

The report was published by the Turkish daily Hurriyet on Friday.

“Ambassador Ricciardone only repeated what [former] Secretary of State Clinton has already said, and I am sure that Secretary of State John Kerry will say the same things when he has the opportunity to speak in public on these issues,” Nuland added.

On February 5, Ricciardone criticized Turkey’s judiciary for “lengthy pre-trial detentions, lack of clarity in presenting charges,” and “lack of transparency.”

The US ambassador had also denounced Ankara over jailing the country’s military leaders and parliament members “sometimes on unclear charges.”

On Thursday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag told Ricciardone to stop interfering with the country’s judiciary system, saying ambassadors “should stay away from assessments that mean interference in Turkey’s judiciary and domestic affairs.”

According to diplomatic sources, Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu has also expressed Ankara’s discontent with Ricciardone’s remarks during a recent meeting with the US envoy.

A diplomatic official said after the meeting, “We have conveyed our unease with his statements. This is unacceptable, we told him. And we also expressed that this should not happen again.”

Meanwhile, it was also reported that Ricciardone has sent a letter to Huseyin Celik, number two of the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP), to offer an apology for his remarks. However, the US embassy has denied the report.

MKA/HSN

via PressTV – US-Turkey tensions escalate over Washington’s criticism of Ankara.

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