Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

U.S. and Turkey suspend bilateral non-immigrant visa services


Ambassador John Bass made the announcement about the visa suspension and issued a video on Monday night discussing his decision but there has yet to be any official comment from Washington.

On Sunday, the US embassy announced the suspension of non-immigrant visa services at the US diplomatic facilities in Turkey over the recent arrest of an employee of the US Consulate General in Istanbul.

Turkish authorities summoned a USA consulate worker to testify on Monday over his relatives' alleged links to last year's failed coup attempt, state-run Anadolu news agency said, days after the arrest of another consulate employee.

"Allegations made against our local staff are very serious allegations". Erdogan called the indictment "scandalous" and said his security detail was protecting him against Kurdish militants protesting outside his ambassador's residence.

Erdogan has praised Vucic for supporting him during last year's failed coup that he blames on the movement led by US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who denied involvement.

The prosecutor's office said that testimony from Topuz pointed to the two suspects detained in Amasya being high-ranking members of Gulen's network.

Bass said that the suspension of USA visa services in Turkey "is not a measure we are enjoying", but "it is necessary to prevent our other local staff from suffering the same fate".

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey has taken the decision to suspend visa services in coordination with the White House and State Department, a spokesperson for the department said Tuesday, APA reports quoting Anadolu agency.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday stepped up one of the worst rows in decades between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies by saying Turkey no longer regarded ambassador John Bass as the United States representative in the country.

The dispute has plunged already fragile relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to a new low after months of tension linked to the conflict in Syria, last year's failed military coup in Turkey, and USA court cases against Turkish officials.

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