UPDATES WITH MORE DETAIL
By Sena Guler and Sorwar Alam
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s foreign minister on Friday criticized a new U.S. travel warning on Turkey as “unnecessary.”
Speaking in Los Angeles during his visit to a cemetery for martyred Turkish diplomats, Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey and the U.S. shouldn't waste time on “unnecessary” actions not suiting an ally such as the new State Department warning.
“Turkey is a much safer country than the U.S. …
Considering the events of 2017, we can easily say that Turkey is not less safe than the U.S. but a much safer country,” he added.
He noted that around 32 million tourists visited Turkey last year, and the number of early reservations from the U.S. is higher for the upcoming season.
Cavusoglu also stressed that as allies, Turkish-U.S. ties should “focus on a positive agenda and cooperation on regional issues.”
Xenophobia in America is alarming, he said, adding: “We saw how the U.S. administration, particularly the Trump administration, humiliated other countries.”
The U.S. State Department issued an advisory dated Jan. 12 urging U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to Turkey “due to terrorism” and what it called “arbitrary detentions.”
On Friday Turkey's Foreign Ministry also issued a travel advisory for citizens travelling to the U.S., warning them of rising acts of terrorism and arbitrary arrests of Turkish citizens.
The gravesite visited by Cavusoglu is the final resting place of three Turkish diplomats killed in the U.S., in the line of duty, by the Armenian terrorist group ASALA.
The Turkish Consul General Mehmet Baydar and Consul Bahadir Demir were martyred on Jan. 27, 1973, and on Jan. 28, 1982, the Turkish Consul General Kemal Arikan was martyred in another racist hate attack.
Armenian terrorist organizations killed 31 Turkish diplomats across the world between 1973 and 1986, according to a 2015 study.
Cavusoglu later held separate meetings with the American businessmen and prominent opinion leaders in the country.
Both in meetings with executives of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, or LAWAC, and representatives of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Cavusoglu emphasized the importance of developing a positive and constructive agenda between Turkey and the US.
Cavusoglu, who is expected to complete his Los Angeles visit on Saturday, will head to Canada to attend the international foreign ministers meeting on North Korea.
The minister is also expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during the event.