Turkey-US visa talks were positive, foreign ministry sources say

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 18.10.2017 17:13
Updated 19.10.2017 11:53
emFile Photo/em
File Photo

The visa talks conducted between Turkish and U.S. delegations at the Foreign Ministry building in capital Ankara were "positive," foreign ministry sources said Wednesday.

The talks started at 9:30 a.m. and reportedly lasted for about seven hours. The State Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Jonathan Cohen joined the U.S. delegation, while the Turkish delegation was accompanied by the deputy undersecretaries of the foreign, interior and justice ministries.

Both the Turkish and the U.S. parties were reported to have laid down conditions to resolve the ongoing visa crisis. The U.S. demanded the Turkish government present proof regarding the terrorism charges of its two consulate employees, who were arrested last week, and guarantee that its employees will not be subject to Turkish judicial procedures. Turkey, on the other hand, wants the U.S. to reverse its visa suspension decision.

Foreign ministry sources noted that Turkey and the U.S. will continue to hold discussions regarding the visa crisis.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın also underlined Wednesday that talks between Turkey and the U.S. over the ongoing crisis was heading in a "good direction."

Turkish national Metin Topuz, employed by the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul as a local worker, was remanded in custody over terrorism charges by an Istanbul court last week. Topuz is accused of having links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which was behind last year's defeated coup attempt, according to a judicial source.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara later announced that all non-immigrant visa services at its diplomatic missions in Turkey had been suspended following Topuz's arrest.

Ankara retaliated by halting the processing of visa applications from the U.S. The move, announced online by the Turkish Embassy in Washington, affects visas in passports, electronic visas and visas at the borders, and was implemented immediately.

Turkish authorities also issued an arrest warrant last Monday for another personnel working for the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, whose wife and son were interrogated by the police before being released.

Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office stated that the suspect, identified by his initials N.M.C. and who does not hold diplomatic immunity, was called for testimony. His family were detained in the central province of Amasya, it added.

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