Turkey halts visa services for American citizens

 Turkey halts visa services for American citizens

Turkey cancelled all visa services for Americans at its diplomatic missions in the US in a tit-for-tat move after Washington made a similar announcement earlier in the day.

"Recent events have forced the Turkish Government to reassess the commitment of the Government of the US to the security of the Turkish Mission facilities and personnel," a statement posted on the Twitter account of the Turkish embassy in Washington DC said, closely mimicking the earlier US notification.

"In order to minimize the number of visitors to our diplomatic and consular missions in the US while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all visa services regarding the US citizens at our diplomatic and consular missions," AFP cited the statement.

The Turkish restrictions appeared to go further than a move by the US to suspend the processing of "non-immigrant" visas, a specific category that relates to tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study.

A first version of the Turkish statement that was posted on the embassy's Twitter account on Sunday afternoon had said the measure would apply "to visas in passports." But a later version said: "This measure will apply to sticker visas as well as e-Visas and border visas," leaving open the question of whether US travelers who already have visas would be allowed to enter Turkey.

The statement also specifically alluded to American citizens applying for visas from within the US, and was not clear whether it applied to those applying from other countries.

The US had announced its suspension following the arrest of a Turkish member of staff working at the US consulate in Istanbul.