Turkish, US officials decide to meet to resolve dispute - deputy PM

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Woman waits at USA embassy in Ankara.

The U.S. ambassador to Turkey says he hopes the two countries can quickly resolve a spat over the arrest of a U.S. consulate staffer, stressing that cooperation between the two allies helped reduce terror attacks in Turkey.

The spat erupted last week when Turkey arrested a Turkish employee of the American consulate on suspicion of links to the group blamed for last year's failed coup.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also spoke Wednesday with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu about the matter.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his USA counterpart Rex Tillerson discussed the issue over the phone on Wednesday, marking the first contact between Ankara and Washington since the two sides announced a suspension of all non-immigrant visa applications for each other's citizens on Sunday.

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"Outgoing U.S. Ambassador John Bass announced the visa suspension and issued a video Monday discussing his decision, but there has yet to be any official comment from Washington". Tillerson expressed his "profound concern" about the arrests, the US State Department said in a statement. He also emphasized the importance of transparency and the need for the evidence behind the accusations to be known, Nauert said.

He also said a US consulate employee arrested in Turkey had not demanded lawyer access and the USA mission could apply to send a lawyer to see him.

"I find the lack of consultation by senior USA authorities with our foreign minister awkward", Erdogan said in televised remarks in Belgrade, Serbia, on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday that United States and Turkish military forces continue to work well together amid the diplomatic row. Turkey retaliated by halting visas services in the United States.

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