US, Turkey settle visa row

Michele Moreno
December 29, 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier called the US move to suspend non-immigrant visa operations at diplomatic facilities in Turkey "upsetting".

"We do not find it right for the United States to claim it had received assurances from Turkey and misinform the USA and Turkish publics", the embassy said, according to a BBC translation.

The move comes two months after the USA suspended most visa services to Turkish citizens after one of its consulate employees was arrested.

The United States announced the resumption of issuing American visas to Turkish citizens.

The diplomatic conflict increased tensions between the United States and Turkey, NATO allies that have seen their ties deteriorate since a coup attempt previous year that the Turkish government blames on a Muslim cleric who lives in the U.S.

The State Department says Turkey "adhered to the high-level assurances" that no other local employees are under investigation and that local staff of the US embassy and consulate won't be arrested for doing their jobs.

But the services were so limited that the first interview appointments for Turks seeking most types of USA visa were only available from January 2019, causing uproar on social media.

Turkey reciprocated the measure shortly thereafter, blocking non-immigrant visa services for USA citizens.

The State Department has not announced a date for when visa services will fully resume.

The US said it had won assurances from Ankara that there are "no additional local employees of our mission in Turkey under investigation". "Although we noted earlier, we do not find the right arguing that misinform the American public that Turkey received assurances from the United States and Turkey", the statement said.

The embassy began processing visas on a "limited" basis in November following reassurances from Turkey.

Turkey has for months been pressing Washington to extradite US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen over his alleged role in the botched coup in July 2016.

Other reports by Insurance News

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