Turkey’s Justice Ministry cancels US visit amid visa row

Turkey’s Justice Ministry cancels US visit amid visa row

Turkey’s Justice Ministry cancels US visit amid visa row

The Justice Ministry stated on Oct. 24 that it had cancelled a planned study visit to the United States due to the ongoing diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington.

Earlier reports had said the U.S. authorities rejected visa requests from members of the delegation, but the Justice Ministry said it had taken the initiative and cancelled the trip.

“Due to the recent visa crisis between the two countries, the visit was cancelled by our Ministry,” it said in a statement, adding that there were no visa applications to be rejected.

The delegation had planned a study visit to the U.S., at the invitation of U.S. authorities, between Oct. 29 and Nov. 4, the ministry stated.

Upon reports saying the Justice Ministry was denied U.S. visas, the value of the dollar rose rapidly against the Turkish Lira, hitting 3.76 at one stage, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Oct. 25.

The euro, with the parity impact, performed meanwhile at a range of 4.40-4.41 liras at the start of the fiscal day.

Customs and Trade Minister Bülent Tüfenkci said on Oct. 24 that he hoped the visa row between Turkey and the U.S. would be resolved as soon as possible as it is hindering trade.

“I hope the visa suspension will be removed shortly and negotiations will be concluded positively, contributing to increasing trade volume between the two countries,” Tüfenkci said at a meeting with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce committee in Ankara.

Representatives from major international companies such as Amazon, Cargill, Motorola Solutions, and Dow were at the meeting, and Tüfenkci noted that the trade volume between the two countries reached $17.5 billion in 2016 compared with $6.4 billion in 2002.

Matthew Bryza, former U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, told Anadolu Agency on Oct. 24 that the U.S. visa decision amounted to “punishment” for both countries. He said conversations to resolve the crisis are continuing but that the tension has yet to be overcome.

Turkish and U.S. diplomats had talks in Ankara on Oct. 18 to resolve the crisis and the U.S. State Department said they had a “productive” meeting late on Oct.18. Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül confirmed shortly after this that the two sides had a “very productive” meeting.

The Turkey-U.S. visa row was sparked on Oct. 8, when the U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced the suspension of non-immigrant visa services to Turkish nationals, following the arrest of a local employee at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Ankara.