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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Turkey ‘to warn’ US envoy to Ankara, senior AKP officials say


U.S. Ambassador to Ankara Francis Ricciardone. AA photoTurkey is set to deliver a “warning” to the U.S. envoy to Ankara following the ambassador’s recent controversial statements about detentions in the country, top governmental figures have said. 

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) senior figure Hüseyin Çelik hinted that “a warning” would be made to Francis Ricciardone but denied that the meeting, which will be held at 3 p.m. today, was arranged after Ricciardone’s statements.

Nevertheless, he said the comments would be on the agenda. “This was a scheduled meeting. But you can guess that the esteemed ambassador will be warned.” 

Çelik told reporters on Feb. 6 that the U.S. envoy had in the past also commented about internal issues in Turkey, emphasizing that it was inappropriate for a foreign diplomat to make judgments about “topics that he does not know the details of.”

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also said Riccardione should avoid making statements which could be considered an intervention into Turkey’s domestic laws.

“It would be better if Ricciardone minded his own business,” Bozdağ said today. “Those are statements that do not bode well for his assignment in Turkey.” 

Earlier today, the American side had announced that the visit was requested by them.

“We have regular contact with the Turkish government. There is no extraordinary situation in our contact with the Turkish Foreign Ministry,” a statement issued by the U.S. embassy read.

Ricciardone, who briefed Ankara reporters Feb. 5 after a suicide attack targeting the embassy building that killed two people Feb. 1, criticized the long detention of army officers, scholars and students in Turkey.

“You have your military leaders, who were entrusted with the protection of this country behind bars as if they were terrorists... When a legal system produces such results and confuses people like that for terrorists, it makes it hard for American and European courts to match up,” Ricciardone said.

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