Yesterday, Sunday October 8, the USA announced that it was suspending non-immigrant visa services at its diplomatic facilities in Turkey, hours later the Turkish embassy in Washington issued a similar statement.
This was in response to the US statement, meanwhile, which said it was suspending the processing of “non-immigrant” visas, in Turkey. This relates to visas issued for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study.
It comes after a US mission employee in Istanbul, Metin Topuz, was arrested last week on charges of links to a cleric blamed for last year’s failed coup. He has been charged with espionage and damaging the constitutional order and trying to bring down the Turkish government. The USA has stated that they are ‘deeply troubled’ by this incident.
The relationship between the two countries has been tense for a while on a number of issues. President Erdogan has complained and demanded the extradition of Fethullah Gulen from the USA. They deem him as being responsible and masterminding the coup against Erdogan last year. Fethullah Gulen, is a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania, USA.
In addition, the two countries are at loggerheads over what Turkey thinks is irresponsible military support by the USA for Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria. Turkey has also taken a strong stance against the recent independence declaration by the Iraqi Kurds.