US mission to Turkey halts visa services after consulate arrest

US mission to Turkey halts visa services after consulate arrest
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The U.S. Embassy in Turkey on Sunday said it has halted “all non-immigrant visa services” at American facilities in the country, an announcement that comes after the arrest of an employee at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.

“Recent events 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,” the U.S. Embassy in Ankara said in a statement.

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“In order to minimize the number of visitors to our Embassy and Consulates while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey.”

After the consulate employee was arrested on Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara responded by saying it was “deeply disturbed" by the incident, calling the allegations against the individual “baseless.” 

Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency reported last week that the employee was detained due to terror charges and allegedly tried “to overthrow the constitutional order and Turkey’s government.”

“We believe these allegations to be wholly without merit,” the U.S. Embassy said last week following the arrest.

“The United States will continue to engage with the Government of Turkey to ensure that employees of the U.S. Government, as well as American citizens in Turkey, are accorded due legal process in accordance with the Turkish constitution and international legal norms."