US-Turkey suspend visa services over diplomatic row
The arrest and detention of a US consulate worker in Istanbul last week seems to have strained US-Turkey diplomatic relations. The worker was arrested for suspected links to a US-based Turkish cleric who allegedly helped orchestrate the 2016 coup attempt. Turkish and US governments have since suspended visa services in a tit-for-tat move. Read on to know more about the US-Turkey diplomatic feud.
US-Turkey diplomatic row: What has happened so far?
Turkey has been pressing Washington to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Turkish cleric. Turkey alleges that he played an important role in instigating the July 2016 coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It recently arrested Metin Topuz, a Turkish citizen employed at the US embassy, on charges of espionage and attempts to damage "constitutional order." The US termed the arrest "deeply disturbing."
What did the Turkish embassy say?
The Turkish embassy in Washington said that Ankara had been forced to "re-assess" the US government's commitment to the "security of the Turkish mission facilities and personnel." The embassy conveyed that it was suspending visa services provided to US nationals at Turkish missions in the US "while the assessment proceeds." It added that this would apply to e-visas, border visas and sticker visas.
US hits back at Turkey
In response to Turkey's move, the US mission conveyed that it was moving to suspend "all non-immigrant visa services at all US diplomatic facilities in Turkey." This is likely to affect Turkish citizens seeking non-immigrant visas for tourism, medical treatment, work or study purposes.