US, Turkey settle visa row

Pedestrians pass a giant Turkish national flag handing from a building in Ankara Turkey

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced the full return of visa services in Turkey via its social media account earlier on the same day, ending the so-called visa crisis between the two countries.

The move comes two months after the US suspended most visa services to Turkish citizens after one of its consulate employees was arrested.

The State Department says Turkey "adhered to the high-level assurances" that no other local employees are under investigation and that local staff of the US embassy and consulate won't be arrested for doing their jobs.

The State Department will fully resume visa services for Turkish citizens.

"Within the framework of the reciprocity principle, the restrictions on our visa regime for U.S. citizens were lifted simultaneously", said a statement from the Turkish embassy in Washington D.C. "Ankara has assured the USA at the highest level about the cessation of arrests or any further investigation of any embassy staff of U.S. consulate general - the representatives of the United States embassy said".

Ankara responded with an identical statement, imposing tit-for-tat travel restrictions, by issuing a statement through its embassy in Washington, saying, "Recent events have forced Turkish Government to reassess the commitment of the Government of the United States to the security of Turkish Mission facilities and personnel".

Turkey was pleased by the announcement but hit back regarding the statement issued by the USA, saying that it had provided no such assurances in relations to ongoing legal issues.

The US had suspended all non-immigrant visa services after the arrest of one of its consulate employees in October.

In suspending visas, USA officials cited "recent events" that "forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of the government of Turkey".

Turkey has for months been pressing Washington to extradite US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen over his alleged role in the botched coup in July 2016.



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