The United States decided on Sunday to suspend the issuing of visas to Turkish citizens at U.S. diplomatic missions (which Turkey immediately reciprocated) after the Turkish government arrested multiple staffers of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.
Without notifying U.S. authorities, the Turkish government arrested Metin Topuz, a Turkish national who has been working at the U.S. consulate for over three decades. The questionable charges against him include conspiring with members of the international Gulen movement to allegedly overthrow the government.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has for years sought the extradition of the leader of the Gulen movement, Fethullah Gulen (a chief rival of Erdogan’s), who lives in Pennsylvania.
Furious with the U.S. response to his country’s extrajudicial action, Erdogan declared Tuesday that he does not recognize the authority of the sitting U.S. ambassador to Turkey, John Bass.
— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) October 10, 2017
But that’s just the latest episode in the troubled Turkish-American relationship. As guests, Turkish officials and security show little to no respect for American laws and sovereignty.
Things really got out of hand in May, when Erdogan’s bodyguards violently attacked peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C., as they were demonstrating against Erdogan’s policies and the government in Ankara.
That wasn’t the first time that the president’s detail showed complete disregard for American laws. They’ve used thuggish tactics several times to shut down peaceful protests, doing so as recently as late September outside of the United Nations in New York City.
— SCF (@StockholmCF) September 9, 2017
In Turkey, the once-secular state continues to trend toward a full embrace of Islamic authoritarianism.
There’s not much left of the republic founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923. An April referendum gave Erdogan virtually unchecked power, stripping away at the country’s foundational checks and balances and ridding the nation of basic human rights protections.
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