US, Turkey mutually suspend visa services amid escalating tensions


John Bass, the US ambassador to Turkey, said in a video message Monday that Topuz was the second Turkish staff member to be arrested this year, adding that USA officials were "unable to determine why it occurred, or what, if any, evidence exists against the employee".

There are a variety of tensions surrounding the U.S. -Turkey relationship, stemming from developments as diverse as America's decision to arm Syrian Kurds to the beating of protesters in Washington by Erdogan's bodyguards during a presidential visit to meet with Trump.

The warrant comes less than a week after Turkish security services detained Metin Topuz, a Turkish national who was working as liaison officer of the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul.

The escalating diplomatic row between Washington and Ankara has so far not impacted North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or USA military ties with Turkey.

An arrest by Turkish authorities of a Turkish employee of the US embassy in Ankara for alleged complicity in the coup conspiracy blew up into a diplomatic crisis over the weekend, as the USA suspended travel visas to the US from Turkey, and the Turks reciprocated with identical countermeasures. But the current problems seem rooted in the failed July 2016 coup against Erdogan that the regime blames on agents and followers of Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish religious leader living in Pennsylvania.

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"We don't know if these arrests are singular events or if we should expect other Turkish staff members to be arrested for simply talking to Turkish government officials or the wider Turkish public in the course of their duties", Bass said. In response, the United States stopped issuing non- immigrant visas from its missions in Turkey, prompting Turkish missions in the United States to hit back with a tit-for-tat step of their own.

On Saturday, the U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, in a telephone conversation, told the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, to discuss bilateral consular affairs.

"If he made this decision in his head himself, then higher USA authorities should not keep him in his position one minute longer", said Erdogan.

Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its USA -based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the attempted coup, which left 250 people martyred and almost 2,200 injured.

Within hours Turkey announced it was taking the same measures against us citizens.

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He said that an executive of a Turkish state-run bank was in jail in the U.S.

Yildirim said the USA should immediately stop supporting PKK-linked PYD and YPG terrorist organizations.

The decision came hours after the USA mission to Turkey reduced visa services after one of its employees was detained last week, saying it needed to "reassess" Turkey's commitment to the security of its personnel.

"International companies, headquartered in the USA and Turkey, want to see a further deepening in bilateral ties between Turkey and the US, two key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, and they make a crucial contribution to boosting these ties through investments".

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