US hopes to dialogue with Turkey over visa spat

The U.S. hopes that the recent tension between the two countries defuses, the State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Thursday, APA reports quoting Anadolu agency.


"We hope that Turkey is not trying to create some distance between us," Nauert told reporters in a daily press briefing at the state deparment.


The U.S. Embassy in Turkey announced Sunday it was suspending the issuance of non-immigrant visas to Turkish nationals following the arrest of Metin Topuz, a Turkish employee at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.


In a retaliatory move, Turkey's Washington Embassy also suspended non-immigrant visa services.


Nauert asked the Turkish government for evidence after the arrest of two local staff at the U.S. missions in Turkey and that they be able to see their lawyers.


"We would hope for some calm and we would hope 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.


However Turkey's justice minister Abdullah Gul on the same day said that Turkey had not received a request from the U.S. authorities for evidence against Topuz.


"There was no appeal to the prosecution till yesterday," Gul said. "If it [a demand from U.S Department of Justice on acquiring evidence regarding the charges] comes, we can always meet."


Topuz is suspected to be linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) that Ankara accuses of being behind a defeated coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, according to a judicial source.


Ankara says FETO and its U.S.-based leader, Fetullah Gülen, orchestrated the attempted coup, which killed 250 people and injured nearly 2,200.


Nauert also noted that the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had spoken with his Turkish counterpart about the tension yesterday and "had lots of various conversations and meetings that have gone back and forth" between the parties.

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