February 8, 2013 - 10:45 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Already split on many key foreign policy issues, Turkey and the United States have found themselves embroiled in new tension after the U.S. envoy received a dressing down from Turkish officials in the wake of critical comments from the ambassador, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
The criticisms directed toward Ambassador Francis Ricciardone came in the wake of senior American officials’ reactions to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statements on Israel, as well as their criticisms on the undemocratic nature of the Turkish judicial system.
Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu expressed Ankara’s discomfort with the recent events in an unprecedentedly long meeting with Ricciardone that lasted for two hours and 15 minutes.
Although the meeting took place upon the request of the U.S. embassy to thank Turkish officials over their efforts in the aftermath of last week’s suicide bombing at the embassy, Ricciardone’s recent statements and other top issues regarding cooperation against terrorism were brought to the agenda, according to sources.
“We have conveyed our unease with his statements. This is unacceptable, we told him. And we also expressed that this should not happen again,” a diplomatic source said after the meeting.
During a recent meeting with Ankara media bureau chiefs, Ricciardone had criticized the arrests of military officers, non-violent protesters and professors on unclear charges. “You have your military leaders, who were entrusted with the protection of this country, behind bars as if they were terrorists,” he said, referring to hundreds of military officers behind bars as part of the ongoing “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) and other court cases.
“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. We are working to reconcile our legal processes in both countries,” he said.