US missions in Turkey open for new visa appointments

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara Friday announced it has fully resumed nonimmigrant visa (NIV) services.

"The U.S. Mission Turkey has fully resumed nonimmigrant visa services. Additional appointments are now available," said a statement on its website.

All nonimmigrant visa interviews in Turkey resumed as of Dec. 28, it said, adding: "All additional appointments are open at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and the Consulate General in Istanbul."

"If you have made an NIV appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside of Turkey, you can choose to keep that appointment or schedule a new appointment," but new appointments incur an additional fee, it advised.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced the full return of visa services in Turkey Thursday on its social media account, ending what had come to be known as the visa crisis between the two NATO allies.

"The Department of State is confident that the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow the full resumption of visa services in Turkey," the U.S. embassy said.

The U.S. claimed the decision came after Turkey reassured officials that local employees would not be subjected to additional scrutiny.

While welcoming the resumption of visa services, the Turkish Embassy in Washington denied that Ankara had provided assurances over ongoing judicial processes in Turkey.

The move comes despite the embassy's earlier statement saying visa appointments would not be fully available until January 2019.

The two countries suspended visa services at their diplomatic missions in October when Turkish authorities arrested U.S. consulate employee Metin Topuz for suspected links with Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the group behind last year's attempted coup attempt.

Topuz, a longtime U.S. consulate employee, who worked as a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officer in Istanbul, was arrested after prosecutors discovered alleged close contacts between him and dozens of FETÖ-linked former police chiefs and officers, including police commissioners and former prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, a fugitive accused of attempting to overthrow the government through the use of force, according to a judicial source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

FETÖ orchestrated a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, that killed 250 people across Turkey and injured more than 2,200 others.

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