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Turkey, U.S. resume visa services

The Associated PressANKARA (AP) — U.S. missions in Turkey have resumed processing visa applications by Turkish citizens on a “limited basis” after Turkey reassured Washington that no local staff would be detained or arrested for “performing their duties,” the U.S. Embassy said Monday.

Last month, the United States halted most visa services for Turkish citizens after Turkish authorities arrested Metin Topuz, a Turkish employee at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, deepening already strained ties between Ankara and Washington. Turkey retaliated by halting visa services in the United States for Americans who want to travel to Turkey.

A U.S. Embassy statement said it had received “high-level assurances” from Turkey that no additional local employees were under investigation.

The Turkish government also gave assurances that local staff members would not be detained or arrested “for performing their official duties” and that Washington would be given information in advance if Turkish officials intend to arrest local staff in the future.

“Based on these preliminary assurances, we believe the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow for the resumption of limited visa services in Turkey,” the embassy said in a statement.

The Turkish Embassy in Washington posted a brief statement on Twitter, announcing that it was also resuming “limited” visa services.

It later issued a second statement saying that no assurances were given to U.S. officials over any ongoing legal case. The statement also insisted that Topuz wasn’t arrested “not for performing his official duties but because of serious accusations” against him.

The announcements came a day before Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is due to travel to the United States to meet Vice President Mike Pence for talks aimed at mending frayed ties between the two NATO allies.Speech

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