The unprecedented plan to essentially shutter an American embassy and all diplomatic missions of a NATO ally would have occurred over a 60-day period, starting with the removal of chief diplomats and ending with the eventual drawdown of all diplomatic personnel, according to one senior U.S. official with knowledge of the plan. The plan to remove the diplomats over the two month period was designed to put incremental pressure on the Turkish government.
“For a while, we were in fear of an apocalyptic break in relations with Turkey,” a senior State Department official said.
“It would be starting with the chargé [d’affaires] to send a message: ‘no personnel left behind,'” the official said. The U.S. has not had an ambassador in Turkey since October of 2017, making the chargé d’affaires the most senior diplomat in the country.