Turkey: US Embassy confirms limited visa processing

Turkey: US Embassy confirms limited visa processing”

The US embassy confirmed in a statement on Monday that it received "initial high-level assurances" from the Turkish Government that there are no additional local employees of the US mission in Turkey under investigation, Xinhua news agency reported.

The diplomatic row began after the USA made a decision to stop handing out visas in Turkey from October 8, which was followed nearly immediately by a tit-for-tat move by Ankara to stop issuing Turkish visas for Americans.

Within hours of the announcement, Turkey pledged to reciprocate the measures.

The U.S. Mission in Turkey posted a notice online saying that it had "resumed processing non-immigrant visas on a limited basis" and that the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and Consulate General in Istanbul would offer interviews by appointment only, and that they are reducing the number of scheduled interview appointments.

- The arrest of two local employees at USA diplomatic missions in Turkey sparked a hefty diplomatic row.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Tuesday described the United States' move to partially resume issuing visas in Turkey as a positive step, but said Washington should extradite a cleric blamed for last year's failed military coup in Turkey.

The United States chose to drop the suspension of visas after Turkey promised that no local staff would be detained or arrested for "performing their duties", according to the USA embassy.

It also said a reference to the security conditions of USA missions in Turkey in the US embassy's statement was "considered odd" and did not reflect the truth. The lira firmed to 3.8390 at 1452 GMT, from 3.8708 beforehand. That move followed the arrest of a local employee at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Ankara.

A USA embassy worker based in Ankara confirmed the decision to Reuters. Both are accused of links to last year' failed coup. Visa services in Turkey and the US will be partially restored after they were halted in October. USA officials have said its courts require sufficient evidence to order his extradition.

Yildirim said Gulen's extradition would be discussed during his visit, as well as the fate of some Turkish citizens arrested in the United States - a reference to the wealthy gold trader who was arrested over Iran sanctions evasion last year and an executive at a state-owned bank arrested this year. Zarrab, who is due to go on trial this month, has pleaded not guilty. "We want the concerns we have regarding the cases of our citizens arrested in the United States to be eased", Yildirim said.

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