U.S., Turkey Partially Resolve Visa Feud

The United States partially resumed issuing visas in Turkey after getting “assurances” about the safety of staff at its missions following a number of detentions. The Turkish embassy in Washington stated that it would match the move, although denying that there were any assurances on the matter, Reuters reports.

According to the Turkish embassy, the U.S. made a “positive development.” However, despite its move, the U.S. embassy stressed that it remained concerned over the detention of two of the local staff that it has at diplomatic missions in the country.

The arrest of a veteran employee at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul a month ago led the United States to suspend all non-immigrant visa services while it assessed the security of its staff in Turkey, Reuters adds.

Within hours of the U.S. announcement on October 8, Turkey said it was implementing reciprocal measures and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later accused Washington of sacrificing a longstanding alliance with Ankara.

“We have received initial high-level assurances from the government of Turkey that there are no additional local employees of our mission in Turkey under investigation. We have also received initial assurances from the government of Turkey that our local staff will not be detained or arrested for performing their official duties,” the U.S. embassy noted in a statement.

However, just hours later the Turkish embassy said it had not given Washington any assurances, and that any decision regarding legal procedures on U.S. mission workers would be left to Turkey’s judiciary.

“The personnel in question employed by the U.S. has been the subject of a judicial process not because of his official duties, but because of very serious charges against him,” the Turkish embassy said in a statement.

In May, a translator at the U.S. consulate in the southern province of Adana was arrested and, more recently, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) worker was detained in Istanbul, with both being accused of links to last year’ failed coup, Reuters writes.

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