NATO chief urges US, Turkey to 'find solutions' to row
BRUSSELS - NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Friday urged the United States and Turkey to "sit down and find solutions" to a crisis in relations between the two key members of the military alliance.
The row erupted when a Turkish employee of the US consulate in Istanbul was arrested on suspicion of links to a US-based preacher Ankara blames for last year's failed coup.
Washington halted issuing non-immigrant visas in Turkey in response and yesterday President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the US was in danger of "sacrificing" relations.
"I only urge the United States and Turkey to sit down and find solutions because it is important for the alliance that we are able to work closely together, especially in that region, because Turkey is a key for our fight against terrorism," Stoltenberg told AFP in an interview.
Turkey is a key player in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group and the US relies heavily on the airbase at Incirlik in the country's south to launch air strikes against the militants in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.
"We are always ready to help, but I know there are direct contacts so I am certain Turkey and the United States are talking to each other directly and addressing some of this disputes," Stoltenberg said.