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Turkey slaps reciprocal visa restrictions on US: embassy

[WASHINGTON] Turkey said on Sunday that it will cease issuing non-immigrant visas to Americans in an apparent tit-for-tat move after Washington made a similar announcement earlier in the day.

But the Turkish restrictions apparently go further, applying to "visas in passports as well as e-Visas and visas acquired at the border" in addition to those issued at diplomatic facilities in the US, according to a statement from the Turkish embassy in Washington.

"Recent events have forced Turkish Government to reassess the commitment of the Government of the United States to the security of Turkish Mission facilities and personnel," a statement posted on the Twitter account of the Turkish embassy in Washington DC said, closely mimicking the earlier US notification.

"In order to minimise the number of visitors to our Embassy and Consulates while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all non-immigrant visa service at all Turkish diplomatic facilities in the US.

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"This measure will apply to visas in passports as well as e-Visas in visas acquired at the border."

The US had announced its suspension following the arrest of a Turkish member of staff working at the US consulate in Istanbul.

The employee was remanded in custody by an Istanbul court late Wednesday on accusations of links to the group of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for last year's failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In the US, non-immigrant visas are issued to those travelling for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study. Immigrant visas apply to those seeking permanent residency or citizenship.

AFP