The inability of the U.S. embassy to determine the reason behind the arrest of its staff member or what evidence exists against him was the reason given by U.S. Ambassador to Ankara John Bass, in a statement issued on Oct. 9, for the U.S. decision to halt visa services in the country.
“Last week, for the second time this year, a Turkish staff member of our diplomatic mission was arrested by Turkish authorities. Despite our best efforts to learn the reasons for this arrest, we have been unable to determine why it occurred or what, if any, evidence exists against the employee”, Bass said in a statement issued on the Embassy’s Twitter account.
The ambassador explained that the course of the talks between the two governments regarding the detention of Turkish staff at the U.S. embassy would determine the duration of the suspension in visa services.
Bass added that the length of the suspension would also depend on “the Turkish government’s commitment to protecting our facilities and personnel here in Turkey”. noting it was not a visa ban on Turkish citizens.
“Now this suspension of services is not a visa ban on Turkish citizens. It’s a suspension of our consideration of new visa applications. If you have a valid visa, you can still travel to the United States. If you want to apply for a visa at another U.S. embassy or consulate outside of Turkey, you are free to do so”, the statement read.
“This was not a decision we took lightly and it’s a decision we took with great sadness. We realize that the suspension of visa services will inconvenience people. We hope it will not last long, but at this time we can’t predict how long it will take to resolve this matter. The duration will be a function of ongoing discussions between our two governments about the reasons for the detention of our local staff members and the Turkish Government’s commitment to protecting our facilities and personnel here in Turkey,” it says./IBNA