Visa services resume between USA and Turkey

Visa services resume between USA and Turkey

Kerry Wise
December 29, 2017

The State Department will fully resume visa services for Turkish citizens.

On Thursday, the US embassy said "the Department of State is confident that the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow the full resumption of visa services in Turkey".

The worker had been detained over suspected links to a cleric blamed for last year's failed coup in Turkey.

The United States and Turkey lifted all visa restrictions on Thursday after Washington said Ankara had kept to assurances that no other U.S. mission staff would be targeted for performing official duties.

"In response to assurances from the Turkish side, the US State Department came to the conclusion that the security situation in Turkey is quite good for the resumption of visa services, the embassy officials said". Turkey also suspended the issuance of visas to USA citizens.

Turkey, though, denied any such assurances since two local employees of the USA consulate in Istanbul were held on suspicion of ties to last year's failed coup against President Tayyip Erdogan.

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Non-immigrant visas include student, tourist, media and work visas.

The statement said the USA had been assured no additional local employees of its missions were under investigation and that staff would not be detained or arrested performing their official duties.

Ankara responded with an identical statement, imposing tit-for-tat travel restrictions, by issuing a statement through its embassy in Washington, saying, "Recent events have forced Turkish Government to reassess the commitment of the Government of the United States to the security of Turkish Mission facilities and personnel".

US officials said Thursday "serious concerns" remain about existing allegations against employees that were previously in Turkey.

Washington had condemned the arrest of the consulate employee, a male Turkish citizen, as baseless and damaging to bilateral relations. "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 Turkish government wants the U.S. to extradite Gulen to Turkey, for his alleged involvement in the failed coup.