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29 December 2017, 12:52 | Rufus Hill
US Resumes Visa Services in Turkey, Easing Diplomatic Strains
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced the full return of visa services in Turkey via its social media account earlier on the same day, ending the so-called visa crisis between the two countries.
The US embassy in Ankara called the security situation in Turkey "sufficiently favorable" for the resumption of the process of issuing visas to Turkish citizens, the Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported.
Based on assurances from Turkey's government, the United States said it was "confident" that security had improved enough to warrant the "full resumption" of visa services at its embassy in Ankara, the Turkish capital, and U.S. consulates in the country.
Although the embassy said it still remains concerned for its arrested staff in Turkey, the progress in ironing out differences may ease the perception of political risk, a key reason for the lira's weakness against the dollar in the fourth quarter.
The US embassy drew attention to the fact that since October 2017, the Turkish authorities did not initiate any new actions or investigations against US consulate members in Turkey.
Turkey, though, denied any such assurances since two local employees of the US consulate in Istanbul were held on suspicion of ties to last year's failed coup against President Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey retaliated by halting visa services in the USA for Americans traveling to the country.
Following this, the Embassy of Turkey in Washington announced the resumption of the process of issuing visas to United States citizens in response to a similar decision by the American side.
The US statement added: "We continue to have serious concerns about the existing allegations against arrested local employees of our mission in Turkey".
Turkey has for months been pressing Washington to extradite US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen over his alleged role in the botched coup in July 2016.
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