U.S. and Turkey Suspend Visa Services for Travelers

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Americans interested in visiting Turkey, and vice versa, may have to put their plans on hold for now. Earlier this month, both the U.S. and Turkey suspended non-immigrant visa services for travel between the two countries. These tit-for-tat measures came after Turkish authorities detained two Turkish employees of the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul/Oyster

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul/Oyster

After Washington initiated the halt of visa services, the Middle Eastern country retaliated by closing its borders to American visitors residing in the U.S. or elsewhere, unless they can obtain visas outside their home country, The Guardian reports. Turkish Airlines is accommodating travelers and refunding fares for flights between the U.S. and Turkey through October 31. Tickets must have been purchased by October 9. 

This week, a U.S. delegation landed in Ankara in an attempt to resolve the diplomatic dispute between the NATO allies. However, Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said it would not submit to “impositions” from the U.S., Reuters reports. President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman was singing a different tune, saying he expected the crisis to be resolved soon following the talks.

The detained Turkish nationals are being held on charges of espionage and alleged links to last year’s failed coup in Turkey. According to Reuters, the U.S. delegation has requested that Ankara provide information and evidence regarding the detentions. “We will cooperate if their demands meet the rules of our constitution, but we will not succumb to impositions and we will reject any conditions that we cannot meet,” Cavusoglu said during a news conference on Wednesday. 

While travelers wait out the conflict, Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin claims the talks with the U.S. were moving in a “good direction,” reports Reuters. “The U.S. delegation does not have the authority to lift the visa suspension but they will communicate our views to Washington and, hopefully, the White House will take positive steps soon,” he said.

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