The US Says Visa Services Will Resume In Turkey After Dispute

Posted December 29, 2017

Turkey retaliated by halting visa services in the US for Americans traveling to the country.

The U.S. had earlier suspended all non-immigrant visa services to Turkish nationals after local employees and U.S. citizens working at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul were arrested in Istanbul during a state of emergency in the country which prompted a tit-for-tat response from Ankara.

General view of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, December 20, 2016.

However, it said Turkey had given no assurances to the U.S. about cases being processed by Turkish courts, and that it also had ongoing concerns about Turkish nationals undergoing court cases in the US.

Thursday, the State Department said Turkey adhered to "high-level assurances" that there are no local employees under investigation, and that embassy consultants would not be arrested or detained.

In a reciprocal move, Turkey also lifted restrictions on visa services for American citizens, according to the embassy.

Turkish stocks and country-specific ETF strengthened Thursday after the US and Turkey lifted all visa restrictions, ending months-long dispute over diplomatic duties.

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Turkey's lira firmed to 3.78 against the USA dollar after the statement, its highest level since 31 October, and the main share index BIST100 climbed 2.08 percent to reach its highest closing level ever.

The worker had been detained over suspected links to a cleric blamed for last year's failed coup in Turkey.

Erdogan, who has been accused by witnesses in the case of being involved in the scheme, has slammed the trial, calling it a "clear plot" by Gulen.

Turkish authorities will also inform the United States "in advance" if they intend to arrest any local staff member in the future.

The US decision to stop handing out visas was implemented from October and was followed by the tit-for-tat move by Turkey to stop giving Turkish visas to Americans.

But the department also says it still has concerns about existing allegations against local employees and against USA citizens arrested under the state of emergency.

In March, a Turkish employee at the United States consulate in the southern city of Adana was also arrested on charges of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).