Friday, 25 May, 2018

US Suspends Non-Immigrant Visa Services in Turkey After Arrest

A general view of the US Embassy in Turkey's capital Ankara A general view of the US Embassy in Turkey's capital Ankara
Ellis Copeland | 09 October, 2017, 01:12

The US embassy in Ankara has said it will suspend non-immigrant visa services across Turkey until it reassesses Ankara's commitment to the security of its staff.

Aaron Stein of Rafic Hariri center for the Middle East at The Atlantic Council said "in recent months Turkey has imprisoned Americans and USA embassy and consulate employees under dubious charges".

The Turkish Embassy in the USA on Sunday announced that processing non-immigrant visa applications have been suspended.

Turkish embassy in Washington said on Sunday it suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all Turkish diplomatic facilities in the United States, after USA missions reduced visa services in Turkey.

"Recent events have forced the United States Government to reassess the commitment of the Government of Turkey to the security of U.S. Mission facilities and personnel", the U.S. Mission to Turkey said Sunday in a statement posted on the embassy's official Twitter account in English and Turkish.

The move followed the arrest on October 4 of a Turkish national who works at the US consulate in Istanbul for alleged involvement in the July 2016 coup attempt on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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FETO and its US -based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the attempted coup, which left 250 people martyred and almost 2,200 injured.

TRT World's Ediz Tiyansan is in Washington with the latest on the USA decision. According to Turkish media, the man, Metin Topuz, is accused of espionage and "attempting to overthrow the Turkish government and constitution".

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency identified the consulate employee as a male Turkish citizen.

Topuz is linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind last year's defeated coup in Turkey, a judicial source said on Wednesday. The expert, who closely follows Turkish affairs, said Mr Erdogan would like to swap the businessman Reza Zarrab and the banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla (both arrested in United States) with those arrested from USA consulates.

"He is neither a staff of the US Consulate nor does he have any diplomatic or consular immunity", said Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu in a statement last week.

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