“Ambassadors should mind their own business. They should stay away from assessments that mean interference in Turkey’s judiciary and domestic affairs,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.
In an interview with local media on Tuesday, US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone criticised “the flaws” in the justice system, highlighting “lengthy pre-trial detentions, lack of clarity in presenting charges, lack of transparency”.
In particular, he took aim at the jailing of scores of military and political figures.
“You have your military leaders, who were entrusted with the protection of this country, behind bars as if they were terrorists,” Ricciardone said, adding that a number of lawmakers had also suffered the same fate.
“You have members of parliament who have been behind bars for a long time, sometimes on unclear charges,” he added.
“You have professors… You have non-violent student protesters protesting tuition hikes behind bars. When a legal system produces such results and confuses people like that for terrorists, it makes it hard for American and European courts to match up.”
The comments by Ricciardone, who has had an uneasy relationship with the authorities since his appointment in January 2011, came after a suicide bombing outside the US embassy in Ankara on Friday that was claimed by a radical anti-US leftwing group.