Full Visa Services Resume in Turkey

Istanbul  RudyBalasko/iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images
Photo by RudyBalasko/iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images

Full visa services in Turkey have resumed, the State Department reports.

Turkey and the United States had suspended the issuance of visas between the two countries in October over a diplomatic dispute stemming from the arrest of a U.S. consulate employee over accusations that he had links to a cleric who had been blamed by the Turkish government for a failed military coup last July. The U.S. embassy in Ankara halted all non-immigrant visa services in Turkey, prompting Turkey to do the same.

The State Department reported that limited visa services had resumed in early November; now, full visa services have resumed. Since October, the government of Turkey has adhered to assurances it provided to the U.S. that no additional local U.S. employees are under investigation, and that staff at local embassies and consulates would not be detained for performing their official duties, the State Department said.

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“Based on adherence to these assurances, the Department of State is confident that the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow for the full resumption of visa services in Turkey,” the State Department said in a written release announcing the decision. “We continue to have serious concerns about the existing allegations against arrested local employees of our Mission in Turkey. We are also concerned about the cases against U.S. citizens who have been arrested under the state of emergency. U.S. officials will continue to engage with their Turkish counterparts to seek a satisfactory resolution to these cases.”

At the same time, a State Department travel warning remains in effect for Turkey. Last updated September 28, the warning recommends U.S. citizens carefully consider the need to travel to Turkey at this time, due to continuing threats from terrorist groups in the country. Travelers are especially advised to avoid travel to the southeastern region of the country.

Following the outbreak of the diplomatic dispute, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which owns the Royal Caribbean, Azamara Club Cruises and Celebrity Cruises brands, suspended its 2018 calls in Turkey, citing “the current unpredictability of the state” of the country. Planned stops at Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey, were replaced with visits to Rhodes or Mykonos, Greece.

The move was the latest in a series of cancelled cruise calls in Turkey since late 2016 following a series of terrorist attacks and a failed coup attempt.

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