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Iran Press TV

US ambassador not a Turkish governor: Cavusoglu

Iran Press TV

Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:1AM

Turkey's foreign minister has censured the latest remarks by the US ambassador to Ankara concerning suspension of dozens of mayors over alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), arguing that he is not in charge as a governor in Turkey.

"Some statements make us sad, especially when we are fighting terrorism. No elected official can be spared if they are aiding terrorists," Mevlut Cavusoglu said in the southern Turkish resort city of Antalya on Tuesday.

He was reacting to a statement by US Ambassador to Ankara John Bass on September 11, in which he voiced concern over the Turkish government's decision to relieve 28 governors of their posts, calling for early local elections as soon as possible.

Cavusoglu further complained that "the Americans feel entitled to say anything.""None of you are the bosses of Turkey … If you want to have a strong relationship with Turkey, you need to view Turkey as an equal partner. It is not a second-class country," Cavusoglu said.

"Your diplomats are not governors in Turkey. They should do their jobs properly within the framework of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations," the Turkish foreign minister added.

Cavusoglu also reiterated that Ankara has officially requested Washington to hand over US-based opposition leader Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkish officials accuse of being behind the failed July 15 coup attempt.

"Gulen should be extradited to face trial. All those who have fled abroad are linked to the failed coup, and have to be held accountable at last," he stated.

Additionally, president of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has slammed US John Bass's comments, saying Turkey is not a state of the United States.

"The US ambassador is exceeding his limits. He is disrespectful and hurling insults at Turkey. But Turkey is not a state of the United States. Turkey is an independent state," Devlet Bahceli said.

Ankara dismissed 28 mayors, who mostly belonged to the opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), on September 11 over suspected affiliation to the Kurdish PKK militant group.

Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended his decision for the suspensions.

He said those who misuse their executive power in support of terrorism are not "mayors in the real sense of word."

"Being elected does not give anyone the right and authority to offer given resources to terrorist organizations," Erdogan pointed out.

In a similar move days earlier, Ankara suspended about 11,500 teachers over suspected links to the PKK.

The Anadolu state news agency said the Education Ministry suspected that the teachers had been involved in activities "in support of the separatist terrorist organization and its affiliates," in an apparent reference to the PKK.

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