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Ankara Summons US Embassy Rep. as US Halts Visa Services in Turkey - Reports

A day after the US announced that all diplomatic facilities in Turkey will suspend non-immigrant visa services to "reassess Turkey's commitment" to the security of the US mission staff, Ankara has responded.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – On Monday the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the undersecretary of the US embassy in the country over Washington’s decision to halt visa services in Turkey, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.

The move comes after the US mission in Ankara said it has suspended visa services in Turkey following the arrest of a US consulate employee in Istanbul over alleged links to Islamic cleric Gulen, accused by Ankara of being behind the failed coup attempt in 2016. Shortly after, Ankara responded with tit-for-tat measures and suspended visa services in the US.

Meanwhile, Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamid Gul said Monday that he hoped the United States would review its decision to suspend visa services for Turkish citizens over the arrest of a US consulate worker in Istanbul, since Turkey had every right to do so.

"The Foreign Ministry said that the man had no diplomatic immunity, so it is Turkey's right to judge a Turkish citizen… In this regard, I hope that the United States will review its decision," Gul told the A Haber broadcaster.

Embassy of Turkey, Washington, D.C. - Sputnik International
Tit-for-Tat: Turkey Mirrors US Move, Suspends Visas As Tensions Mount
Metin Topuz, a Turkish citizen locally employed at the US consulate, was detained in Turkey last week, prompting Washington's condemnation. The US Embassy in Turkey said that it was "deeply" disturbed over the "baseless, anonymous allegations" undermining "this longstanding partnership" between NATO allies. In its turn, Ankara said that the employee of the US Consulate General in Istanbul arrested by Turkish authorities had no diplomatic immunity.

Ankara accuses Gulen, who has been living in the United States since 1999, of masterminding the July 2016 failed coup attempt. Since then, hundreds of military personnel, activists and journalists have been arrested in Turkey over suspected links to FETO and Gulen. The cleric has repeatedly refuted all allegations.

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