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U.S. says believes in visa crisis settlement between Ankara, Washington

29 December, 2017, 01:08 | Author: Kristen Ingram
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The U.S. had earlier suspended all non-immigrant visa services to Turkish nationals after local employees and U.S. citizens working at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul were arrested in Istanbul during a state of emergency in the country which prompted a tit-for-tat response from Ankara. After the detention of Topuz, the United States chose to suspend the issuance of visas to Turkish citizens and in retaliation, Ankara adopted a similar decision with regard to American citizens.

However, the state department also said it still had serious concerns about allegations against its arrested local employees and about cases against USA citizens who have been detained under the state of emergency.

Later on Thursday, the Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC, which had also blocked some visa services for U.S. nationals, said it "welcome [d] the decision" by the United States and would end its own visa restrictions.

The State Department will fully resume visa services for Turkish citizens. The employee of U.S. consulate was arrested over suspected links to a cleric blamed for last year's failed coup in Ankara.

Based on several assurances given by Ankara, "the Department of State is confident that the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow the full resumption of visa services in Turkey", the USA embassy statement said.

In suspending visas, US officials cited "recent events" that "forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of the government of Turkey".

But the department also says it still has concerns about existing allegations against local employees and against USA citizens arrested under the state of emergency.

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

"We find it wrong to misinform the Turkish and the American public by claiming that the USA received assurances from Turkey", the statement said.

The U.S. and Turkey have resumed normal visa processing services.

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

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