United States and Turkey Mutually Suspend Visa Services
ATLANTA (CNN) — Both the United States and Turkey have suspended all non-immigrant visa services for travel between the two countries, after last week’s arrest of a US consulate employee in Istanbul.
With some exceptions, the move effectively blocks Turks from travel to the United States, and vice versa, indefinitely.
The United States said it was “deeply disturbed” by the employee’s arrest, after he was charged over alleged links to Pennsylvania-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Turkey has pushed for the United States to extradite Gulen, who they blame for last summer’s failed coup, although Gulen himself denies any involvement.
“Recent events have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of government of Turkey to the security of US mission and personnel,” the statement by the US mission in Ankara said.
Just 24 hours after the announcement by the United States, Turkey retaliated through its embassy in Washington, issuing a statement that effectively mirrors the one released by the United States — only the countries’ names were reversed.
“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.”
The Turkish embassy said the measure, effective immediately, would “apply to visas in passports as well as e-Visas and visas acquired at the border.”
The US move, meanwhile, means that Turks will not be issued visas to visit the United States unless they plan to move there.