Turkey has suspended non-immigrants visa service at the Turkish diplomatic facilities in the United States.
The move is seen as a retaliatory step by Turkey immediately after Washington suspended non-immigrant services at U.S. diplomatic facilities.
The diplomatic strife between these two NATO members came to light after Turkey arrested a U.S. Consulate employee from the U.S. embassy in Istanbul.
The Turkish ambassador in the U.S. Serdar Kilic said in an identical statement that of the U.S. embassy in Turkey, “Recent events have forced the Turkish Government to reassess the commitment of the Government of the U.S. to the security of the Turkish Mission facilities and personnel.”
“In order to minimize the number of the visitors to our diplomatic and consular missions in the U.S. while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all visa services regarding the U.S. citizens at our diplomatic and consular missions in the U.S. This measure will apply to sticker visas as well as e-Visas and border visas.”
The diplomatic strife between the NATO countries warns a new wave of tension between the allies that hit them after a fraction of Turkish military tries to stage a coup to oust President Erdogan.
The U.S. ambassador to Turkey, John Bass later explained the U.S. move in a larger statement. He alleged that the Turkish government has arrested a Turkish staff member of U.S. embassy for the second time this year.
“Despite our best efforts to learn the reasons for this arrest, we have been unable to determine why it occurred or what, if any, evidence exists against the employee,” told the U.S. diplomat.
“Furthermore our colleague has not been allowed sufficient access to his attorney.”
Bass said, “This arrest has raised questions about whether the goal of some officials is to disrupt the long-standing cooperation between Turkey and the United States.”
John Bass explained that the suspension is not a visa ban on Turkish citizens. “It’s a suspension of our consideration of new visa applications. If you have a valid visa, you can still travel to the United States. If you want to apply for a visa at another U.S. embassy or consulate outside of Turkey, you are free to do so.”
The Turkish President Erdogan said he was saddened by the U.S. decision. “For the (US) ambassador in Ankara to take a decision like this, to put it into practice, is saddening,” Erdogan told the press.
“Turkey is governed by the rule of law. Above all, we are not a tribe, we are not a tribal state,” he said.
Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said, “It is Turkey’s right to try a Turkish citizen for acts carried out in Turkey. Everyone should follow (legal procedures) with respect.”