Turkey and the U.S. have announced that they are indefinitely suspending visa services, a remarkable diplomatic break between the two NATO allies and the most visible sign of growing tensions.
A diplomatic fight that resembles more like a Cold War scuffle, the two countries announced on Sunday with almost an identical text that they are suspending visa services in host countries.
The first move came from the U.S., which unexpectedly said in a statement on Sunday that they had to minimize the number of visitors to U.S. diplomatic missions in Turkey because the host country is not committed to providing necessary security.
The announcement was made after Turkish authorities arrested a communications officer at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul on charges of political and military espionage.
“We have suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey,” the embassy said in the statement, noting that the recent events have forced Washington to reassess Ankara’s commitment to the security of the U.S. mission.
Hours later, the Turkish Embassy said in the similarly-worded statement that recent events have forced the Turkish government to “reassess the commitment of the U.S. government to the security of Turkish Mission facilities and personnel.”
In order to minimize the number of visitors to the Embassy and Consulates while this assessment proceeds, the statement continued, Turkey has suspended all non-immigrant visa service at all Turkish diplomatic facilities in the U.S. — effective immediately.
It noted that this measure will apply to visas in passports as well as e-Visas and visas acquired at the border.