March 18 2018

United States suspends visa applications from Turkey

March 18 2018, 04:58 | Van Peters

United States suspends visa applications from Turkey

The US and Turkey announced they suspended the issuance of non-immigrant visas in each other's countries. In this

Turkey may close the Incirlik military base for the U.S. Air Force as diplomatic rift between two countries escalates further, Turkish media outlets reported on October 9.

Other points of tension have included the US' refusal of Turkey's request to extradite Gulen, who denies involvement in the attempted coup and the indictment of Turkey's former economy minister by a usa court last month.

The ties between the two countries were marred after Turkish authorities arrested Metin Topuz, a local employee of USA consulate in Istanbul on October 4. Gulen denies any involvement.

Turkey's cooperation is also crucial for the it tries to interdict Westerners traveling in and out of Syria to fight with ISIS and al Qaeda's affiliate, especially as ISIS crumbles on the battlefield and many of those foreign fighters are fleeing.

The ambassador cited arrests of two members of United States embassy staff in Ankara this year - both Turkish nationals - as the reason for the visa suspension, saying its "duration will be a function of ongoing discussions between our two governments about the reasons for the detention of our local staff members and the Turkish Government's commitment to protecting our facilities and our personnel here in Turkey". Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency claims Topuz is "linked to the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind last year's defeated coup in Turkey".

A number of USA citizens are jailed in Turkey - in particular, Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor who was arrested past year and has yet to face trial.

The Turkish statement nearly mirror repeats the statement of the United States, it only replaced the names of the countries.

"It is sad that the (US) embassy in Ankara took this decision and started to apply it", he said during a news conference in Ukraine.

Ankara's retaliatory response, which very much resembles the U.S. statement in wording, came hours after the U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced that it had suspended "all non-immigrant visa services at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey".

The diplomatic spat spooked investors. Will the YPG use their new arsenal of US-made weapons against the Turkish army?

The country's benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index fell by about 3.3%, and Turkish Airlines dropped by about 8%.

The central bank said it was following developments closely.

Turkey's leading business association, TUSIAD, warned that the dispute would harm bilateral economic, social and cultural ties, and called for disagreements to be settled calmly. But with its timing, the summons amounted to another provocation in an accelerating crisis between Turkey and the United States that has raised concerns about the future of their alliance and stunned officials and observers in both countries.

Ankara accuses Gulen, who has been living in the United States since 1999, of masterminding the July 2016 failed coup attempt.

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