United States and Turkey suspend bilateral non-immigrant visa services

Pauline Gross
Октября 12, 2017

The president of Turkey said his country considers the issue of Crimea to be very important and sensitive.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke by telephone with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and they "discussed the mutual suspensions of visa services", state-run Anadolu news agency reported, without giving further details.

This week, Turkish authorities arrested a U.S. Consulate employee of Turkish nationality for alleged links to the network of U.S. -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government blames for last summer's failed coup.

Relations between Turkey and the USA have been tense over disagreements on Syrian Kurdish militants, which the US backs in the war against the Islamic State group. "The document testifies to the readiness of the two educational institutions to develop cooperation in the educational sphere, promotes the exchange of scientific experience and the development of educational programs", the press service said.

Relations are deeply strained following the arrest of local USA consulate employee Metin Topuz on terrorism and espionage charges in relation to a failed coup a year ago against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Bass is at the end of his posting and is due to leave Turkey at the weekend.

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The spat between the two countries was ignited by the recent arrest of Metin Topuz, a US consulate employee in Istanbul, over suspected links to USA -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Ankara of being behind a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

Washington has dismissed claims it was involved as a ludicrous conspiracy theory and Gulen himself denies any link to the plot.

Turkey hopes ties with the United States could return to normal soon, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Wednesday.

USA pastor Andrew Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for over 20 years, has also been behind bars for a year for alleged links to Gulen.

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