The U.S. and Turkey have announced travel restrictions on each other’s citizens in a tit-for-tat diplomatic spat— another step in the deterioration of ties between Ankara and Washington.
The move affects thousands of Americans traveling to Turkey and vice versa— Turkish nationals traveling to the United States.
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara said that “recent moves have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of the government of Turkey to the security of U.S. mission facilities and personnel.” It was referring to Turkey’s arrest of an employee of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul which it called “wholly without merit” and “deeply disturbing.”
The Turkish government accused the employee of having ties to Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish cleric who lives in exile with the U.S. and is accused of plotting a failed military coup in Turkey in July 2016. He resides in Pennsylvania but Turkish attempts to convince the Trump Administration to extradite him have failed.
Turkey’s Embassy in Washington then retaliated with a similar move, one that blocks Americans entering Turkish territory from the U.S. or elsewhere, unless they can obtain a visa from another diplomatic mission. It said the suspension would apply to “apply to visas in passports as well as e-Visas and visas acquired at the border. ”
The US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass explained the reasons behind the suspension of visa services in a video posted to the U.S. Embassy’s YouTube page here: