Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sought to shift the blame for escalating tensions with the United States on outgoing US Ambassador John Bass today. Speaking in Belgrade on the second leg of an Eastern European tour, Erdogan said neither he nor any members of his Cabinet would receive Bass for farewell visits. “We do not consider him as legitimate envoy of the United States,” Erdogan said.
The latest row between the two NATO allies erupted when the United States announced Oct. 8 that it was indefinitely suspending all non-immigrant visa applications for Turkish citizens inside Turkey. Western diplomats commenting on the measure to Al-Monitor called it “drastic” and “unprecedented” and the clearest expression yet of the rapidly unraveling strategic relationship between Turkey and the United States.