Turkish, U.S. businesses call for resolution of diplomatic rows

ANKARA (Reuters) - Leading Turkish and U.S. businesses urged the governments of Turkey and the United States on Tuesday to resolve a series of diplomatic rows that have prompted both countries to cut back on issuing visas to each other’s citizens.

Turkey has fumed over what it sees as U.S. reluctance to extradite Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of orchestrating an abortive military coup last year, and over U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, seen by Turks as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Gulen denies any connection with the coup bid.

The Turkish-U.S. Business Council (TAIK) called on the U.S. and Turkish governments to engage in talks to resolve the rows and prevent harm to both of their economies and citizens.

“We call on the governments of Turkey and America to enter into discussions to reach a meaningful resolution to the existing differences – so that neither of our peoples or economies suffer,” TAIK said in a statement.

Relations sank to a new low with the arrest of a second U.S. consular worker earlier this month over alleged links to last year’s coup attempt.

The statement by TAIK, a council comprised of leading Turkish and U.S. corporations such as Ford, Microsoft, and Turkish Airlines, was the latest in a series of appeals to the NATO allies to settle their differences.

But President Tayyip Erdogan has not retreated from the row, castigating Washington over democracy issues in comments that may further dim hopes of a resolution.

Reporting by Dominic Evans; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; editing by Mark Heinrich