United States, Turkey Resume Visa Services

US embassy announces end to visa crisis with Turkey

Turkey retaliated by halting visa services in the USA for Americans traveling to the country.

The United States had halted most visa services for Turkish citizens following the arrest in October of a Turkish employee at the USA consulate in Istanbul, deepening already strained ties between Ankara and Washington.

The department announced the move Thursday, saying Turkish authorities upheld their promise of not arresting staff at the US embassy or consulates for performing their job duties.

The Turkish government also agreed to "inform the US government in advance if the government of Turkey intends to detain or arrest any member of our local staff in the future".

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

"Within the framework of the principle of reciprocity, the restrictions placed from our side on the visa regime for U.S. citizens are being lifted simultaneously", said the Turkish mission in Washington.

The call came after the resumption of respective visa services both in Turkey and the U.S.

Turkey had "adhered to high level assurances" made to the U.S., it said.

However, it said Turkey had given no assurances to the USA about cases being processed by Turkish courts, and that it also had ongoing concerns about Turkish nationals undergoing court cases in the US.

Turkey faults the USA for refusing to hand over Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania resident who Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for a July 2016 coup attempt.

The Turkish embassy in Washington said, however, that it had not offered any assurances to the United States over its detained staff.

Metin Topuz, the consulate employee arrested in October, was detained on charges of espionage and alleged ties to Gulen.

Erdogan, who has been accused by witnesses in the case of being involved in the scheme, has slammed the trial, calling it a "clear plot" by Gulen.

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

"We are also concerned about the cases against USA citizens who have been arrested under the state of emergency", the department said.

"We do not approve of the United States providing the Turkish and American public wrongful information", the statement read.

The U.S. continues to engage with Turkish officials in order to resolve these issues.

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