The US and Turkey have suspended all non-immigrant visa services for travelling between the two countries in tit-for-tat moves. The consular row affects most American nationals wanting to travel to Turkey and Turks visiting the US, with few exceptions.
Following the arrest of a US embassy employee in Istanbul last week, the US diplomatic mission in Ankara announced on Sunday, 8 October, that it was restricting regular visa services in Turkey indefinitely. Washington said "recent events" forced the US to reassess Turkey's commitment to the security of its diplomatic posts and consular staff stationed in the country.
Hours after the US announcement, Turkey issued a similarly worded statement restricting its consular services. "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," the Turkish embassy in the US said in its statement.
"In order to minimise the number of visitors to our embassy and consulates while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all Turkish diplomatic facilities in the US. This measure will apply to visas and passports as well as e-visas acquired at the border," added the Turkish mission. It is unclear whether US citizens who have already secured visas will be allowed to travel to Turkey.
The face-off between the two countries comes after the American embassy employee was arrested by Turkish authorities for allegedly having links with the self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen. The Pennsylvania-based opposition leader has been accused of masterminding a botched coup against the Turkish government in July 2016 and Ankara has been demanding his extradition since then.
Washington said the arrest is rooted in baseless allegations and warned the move could damage bilateral ties. The US said it was "deeply disturbed" by the arrest of its employee.