US suspends non-immigrant visas in Turkey


The US embassy strongly condemned the arrest of Topuz, who remains in custody, calling the claims of his involvement in the coup "baseless, anonymous allegations" that could "undermine and devalue the longstanding partnership" between US and Turkey.

The U.S. statement said the suspension of non-immigrant visa services was "effective immediately" to minimize visitor numbers to the U.S. Embassy and Consulate for now.

Just hours after the USA mission in Turkey announced it was freezing non-immigrant visa services in Turkey, the Turkish embassy in Washington, DC, hit back with an nearly identical statement.

Neither Washington nor Ankara specified how long the "reassessment" of bilateral security commitments, announced this weekend, is expected to take.

Turkey has pressed, so far in vain, for the United States to extradite Gulen, while tensions have also risen over Washington's military support for Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria.

Washington has dismissed these accusations as unsatisfactory.

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"Recent events have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of government of Turkey to the security of USA mission and personnel", a statement by the US embassy in Ankara said.

In order to minimise the number of visitors while the assessment is made, "effective immediately we have suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all United States diplomatic facilities in Turkey", it said.

Topuz has been linked to a number of FETO suspects, including police commissioners and former prosecutor Zekeriya Oz, a fugitive accused of attempting to overthrow the government through the use of force, added the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Ankara responded by saying that the employee of the US Consulate General in Istanbul arrested by Turkish authorities had no diplomatic immunity.

TRT World's Andrew Hopkins reports from Ankara with more updates.