Wed Dec 13 2017, 8:34:57 +03

US, Turkey row deepen after tit for tat suspension of visa services

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(Ankara-AlummahWorld-Muharram 20, 1439H) Sparking after FETO dispute, the US and Turkey row deepen after tit for tat suspension of visa services. Turkey on Sunday suspended non-immigrant visa services at all Turkish diplomatic facilities in the United States amid escalating tensions between the NATO allies.

Earlier the US mission to Turkey announced it was restricting visa services saying that recent events had forced it to "reassess" Ankara's commitment to the security of US facilities and staff.

Hours after the U.S. decision, Ankara said it halted the processing of visa applications from the U.S. The move, announced online by the Turkish embassy in Washington, applies to visas in passports, electronic visas and visas at borders, and is effective immediately.

Turkey called on U.S. authorities to respect due legal process in Turkey regarding a local U.S. Consulate staff member arrested last week. Speaking in a live televised interview Monday, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said: "It is Turkey's right to try Turkish citizens. It is a process being carried out by the judiciary. Everyone must follow the process respectfully."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that the U.S.' decision to suspend visa services at its missions in Turkey was "very upsetting" amid a diplomatic row that broke out due to the arrest of a U.S. Consulate employee over alleged FETO links.

Speaking at a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, Erdogan said Turkey is governed by the rule of law, and is not "a tribe", referring to the arrest of U.S. Consulate employee.

The president said he told foreign ministry officials that the Turkish embassy in Washington should issue the same statement as the U.S. in accordance with the principle of reciprocity to halt visas from the U.S.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) in Turkey criticized the U.S. decision to suspend all non-immigrant visa operations at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey yesterday.