WORLD

US Ankara mission says open for new visa appointments

The U. S. Embassy in Ankara on Friday announced it has fully resumed non-immigrant visa services after normalization of visa services.

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

All non-immigrant visa (NIV) interviews in Turkey resumed as of Dec. 28, it said, adding: "All additional appointments are open at Embassy Ankara and Consulate General 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.

On Thursday, the State Department released a statement saying that visa services in Turkey had been fully restored.

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.

"We find it wrong to misinform the Turkish and American public by claiming that the U.S. received assurances from Turkey," the mission said.

In a reciprocal move, Turkey also lifted restrictions on visa services for American citizens, according to the Washington embassy.

The visa row was sparked Oct. 8, when the U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced the suspension of non-immigrant visa services for Turkish nationals.

That followed the arrest of Metin Topuz -- a U.S. Consulate employee who was arrested for alleged ties to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the July 15, 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.

Topuz has been linked to more than 120 FETO suspects, including police chiefs, over a protracted period, according to Istanbul prosecutors.

Ankara responded to the U.S. move in October with similar actions.

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