Thursday, 19 September 2019 12:39 GMT
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Turkey, US mutually lift visa restrictions




(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Turkey and the United States fully resumed offering visa services in each other's countries, the embassies in Ankara and Washington said yesterday, ending a diplomatic row ongoing for nearly three months.
However, the statement from the Turkish side indicated there were still unresolved tensions, amid a number of flashpoints in the strained relations between the Nato allies.
The US announced it was suspending most visa services in Turkey in October, after an employee of the US consulate in Istanbul was arrested.
He became the second US staff member in a Turkish jail.
The latest move by the embassies comes despite both employees remaining in jail in Turkey.
'The government of Turkey has adhered to the high-level assurances it provided to the United States that there are no additional local employees of our Mission in Turkey under investigation, the embassy statement said.
Also, staff would not be detained or arrested 'for performing their official duties, the statement said.
At least one of the staff members under arrest is accused of contact with people who, at the time, were Turkish civil servants.
The Turkish embassy in Washington insisted 'no assurances were given by the Turkish government and criticised Washington for 'misleading Turkish and US public opinion.
'We would like to stress that Turkey is a state of law, that our government did not give any assurances regarding the files for which the legal procedure continues, the Turkish embassy statement said.
A number of other US citizens remain in jail in Turkey, including a pastor.
Meanwhile, a Turkish banker is on trial in the US, accused of violating sanctions on Iran when he worked at a Turkish state-run lender.
Turkey wants the US to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a cleric whom the government accuses of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016.
Turkey was further annoyed by US military support for Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria, considered by Ankara to be an extension of the banned PKK which has waged an insurgency for three decades in southeast Turkey.

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Turkey, US mutually lift visa restrictions

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