Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said the employee submitted his request for legal counsel on Wednesday and will meet with his lawyer on Friday.

United States consular and embassy services in Turkey remain closed after the US suspended non-immigrant visa services at its diplomatic facilities in Turkey following the arrest of a consulate employee. Turkish officials say Turkey is asking the United States to reverse its decision to suspend non-immigrant visa services at its diplomatic facilities, saying both countries' citizens suffer from the move. October 9, 2017.
United States consular and embassy services in Turkey remain closed after the US suspended non-immigrant visa services at its diplomatic facilities in Turkey following the arrest of a consulate employee. Turkish officials say Turkey is asking the United States to reverse its decision to suspend non-immigrant visa services at its diplomatic facilities, saying both countries' citizens suffer from the move. October 9, 2017. (AP)

The Turkish United States' consulate employee arrested last week over alleged links to the network of the US-based cleric Fetullah Gulen is to meet with his lawyer on Friday, said Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul.

The minister added that the employee had submitted a formal request on Wednesday and the necessary actions were immediately taken. Earlier on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag had stated that both the US and the employee were free to submit requests for visitation and legal counsel, yet did not.

Bozdag also said that Turkish and US officials have decided to meet to work on resolving a diplomatic dispute between the two NATO allies and talks between their foreign ministers were constructive, concerning the visa suspension.

His statement was supported by Turkish Foreign Policy Adviser and Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul, Kalin said that Turkey received a request form the US to solve the escalating row between the two countries. 

Kalin emphasised that the ongoing visa crisis was not complicated and "could be resolved in one day."

In an interview with Haberturk Bozdag underscored that all testimonies of the Turkish US consulate employee arrested in Turkey, filed by the police and state prosecutor were done so in the presence of the required legal aid.

"His testimony at the criminal peace court was also filed with a lawyer present," said Bozdag expressing that it was impossible to think otherwise.

'Overblown' crisis 

On Wednesday, a different Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Mehmet Simsek, said the crisis between the two countries was "overblown" and will likely be resolved soon.

Speaking at an event in Washington DC, Simsek made remarks aimed at defusing tensions between the two countries. 

He said Turkey considered the safety and security of US diplomats and employees in Turkey a "top priority" and described the detention of staff at US missions in Turkey as "routine" investigations.

"We don't want this dispute to last more than a second," Simsek said of the current visa spat at a briefing on US business opportunities in Turkey at the US Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. 

He added that Turkey is committed to "safeguarding" US government employees in Turkey.

US ambassador's address  

Speaking to reporters in Ankara on Wednesday, US Ambassador John Bass said the US sought an official explanation from Ankara concerning the arrests.  

Bass complained about the lack of cooperation with Turkey regarding Topuz's arrest.

Later Bass was asked by journalists whether the Turkish government had been contacted concerning the arrest of a deputy chief executive of one of Turkey's largest banks, prior to his arrest in the US.

“I don’t recall, we have to go back and check,” said Bass, who later couldn't provide any specific details for the issue.

Former economy minister Zafer Caglayan and Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla were charged with conspiring to violate US sanctions on Iran. 

Atilla was arrested in March and indicted in September along with Caglayan, who is in Turkey.

Deputy Prime Minister Bozdag said that he didn't agree with the ambassador holding a conference with journalists and said that if Bass wanted information concerning the legal proceedings, there were formal diplomatic avenues in place, such as sending a lawyer and contacting the Foreign Ministry, that should be utilised.

High-level contact 

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday and expressed his "profound concern" about the arrests, the US State Department said in a statement.

Tillerson also called on Turkey to present any evidence behind the accusations against the US employees, the statement said. The phone call is the highest level of contact since the suspension of visa services by both countries.

Also on Wednesday, US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said military relations with Turkey had been unaffected by diplomatic tensions between the two countries and he would continue to work closely with this Turkish counterparts.

Tensions between the two NATO allies rose in recent days after the detentions of two locally employed staff prompted the US on Sunday to suspend non-immigrant visa services at its embassy and consulates in Turkey. 

Hours later, Turkey issued a similar suspension on visas for US citizens.

US-Turkish relations were already strained over US military support for YPG in Syria and the US' unwillingness to extradite US-based FETO leader Fetullah Gulen whom Ankara views as the mastermind behind last year's failed military coup.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies