Turkish PM to visit US amid strain with Washington

Turkish PM to visit US amid strain with Washington

Turkish PM to visit US amid strain with Washington

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım is expected to visit the United States from Nov. 7-11. He is planning to meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Washington amid the visa crisis between the two NATO allies.

The prime minister will attend a meeting on the issue of the economy in New York.

The Turkish government has submitted all the documents to the U.S. for the arrest and extradition of U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of masterminding the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said last week, noting the prime minister could visit the U.S. in the coming period for contacts for this and other issues.

The tension between Ankara and Washington escalated to unprecedented levels in October, with the arrest of U.S. Consulate staff member and a mutual suspension of visa services added to the list of ongoing disputes between the NATO allies.

The arrest of a Turkish employee at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, Metin Topuz, triggered the latest deterioration, with the U.S. Embassy in Ankara saying on Oct. 8 that it would stop issuing visas for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study. Turkey retaliated the U.S. move, suspending visa services for American citizens.

Two weeks have passed since the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jonathan Cohen visited Ankara for a solution to the dispute over the arrest of the U.S. consulate staff. In the meetings with Turkish officials, Washington asked for “credible information” about the arrests and wanted assurance for its employees in Turkey.