Amid visa crisis with the US over the arrest of a Turkish national working at the İstanbul Consulate General last week, media reported that Turkish authorities issued detention warrant for another US consulate staff on Sunday morning.
According to a report by Hurriyet daily, Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued a detention warrant for a Turkish national consulate staff who works in department handling issues with Turkish police. Police could not detain him because he stays at the consulate building while his wife and son were reportedly being interrogated at a police station at the time of this writing.
According to the report, wife of the staff created a bank account in Bank Asya which was seized in 2015 by the Turkish government after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly targeted it.
Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said he was not aware of a decision for detention or arrest of a second US consulate staff.
Istanbul Consulate General staff member Metin Topuz was arrested late on Oct. 4 on espionage charges and alleged links to some leading members of the Gülen movement.
Speaking to a group of journalists in İstanbul on Friday, John Bass, the departing US ambassador to Turkey, said some in the Turkish government are motivated by “vengeance rather than justice,” voicing concern at coverage in pro-government media outlets of the arrest of Topuz.
The US Embassy in Ankara on Sunday announced that it had suspended all non-immigrant visa services at its diplomatic facilities in Turkey.
“Recent events have forced the United States Government to reassess the commitment of the Government of Turkey to the security of US Mission facilities and personnel. In order to minimize the number of visitors to our Embassy and Consulates while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey.”
Hours after the release of the statement, the Turkish Embassy in Washington announced that it had suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all Turkish diplomatic missions in the US.
The Turkish Embassy in Washington retaliated by copying and reversing the US statement.
“This measure will apply to visas in passports as well as e-Visas and visas acquired at the border,” the Turkish Embassy added in its statement.
This article originally appeared in Turkish Minute on Oct 9.