US envoy under fire over southeast remarks

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Ankara's anger against U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass over his expression of concern regarding the appointment of trustees to 28 local municipalities due to alleged terror links continues to simmer, with Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu describing Bass' remarks as "provocative." 

"It is not right for any country to draw the road map of another independent country. We are saddened by the remarks [of the ambassador] that, in a way, provoke and try to direct us," Soylu told reporters on Sept 14. 

His remarks followed criticism of Bass by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ. Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu also issued a complaint about the ambassador to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a phone conversation late on Sept. 13, diplomatic sources said. 

Ankara's reaction was sparked over the weekend after the U.S. Embassy issued a written statement following the government's announcement that it had appointed trustees to 28 municipalities over their alleged links to terrorist organizations. Some 24 of the municipalities were run by the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and allegedly linked with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) while four municipalities were replaced over links with the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), blamed for the July 15 coup attempt. 

"We hope that any appointment of trustees will be temporary and that local citizens will soon be permitted to choose new local officials in accordance with Turkish law," read the U.S. embassy statement on Sept 11. 

'Necessary reply'

Interior Minister Soylu said Washington should speak with Ambassador Bass over his "unacceptable" comments. 

"We gave the necessary reply to...

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