US hopes for successful dialogue with Turkey to solve visa spat
WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
Washington hopes that recent tension between the U.S. and Turkey will be defused, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said late on Oct. 12.
“We hope that Turkey is not trying to create some distance between us,” Nauert told reporters in a daily press briefing.
The U.S. Embassy in Turkey announced on Oct. 8 that it was suspending the issuance of non-immigrant visas to Turkish nationals in the country following the arrest of Metin Topuz, a Turkish employee at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul. In a retaliatory move, Turkey’s U.S. Embassy also suspended non-immigrant visa services.
Nauert said the Turkish government was asked for evidence after the arrest of two local staff at U.S. missions in Turkey and stressed the importance that they be able to see their lawyers.
“We would hope for some calm and that we can have a dialogue with the government of Turkey. But we also have some very real concerns about whether or not Turkey intends to cooperate with the United States and in terms of its investigations,” she said.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül earlier the same day said Turkey had not received a request from the U.S. authorities for evidence against Topuz.
“There was no appeal to the prosecution until yesterday. If it [a demand from the U.S Department of Justice on evidence on the charges] comes, we can always meet,” Gül said.
The Turkish authorities suspect Topuz of being linked to what prosecutors call the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), believed to have been behind Turkey’s failed coup attempt in July 2016.
Nauert also stated that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had spoken with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu about the tension and “various conversations and meetings have gone back and forth” between the two sides.