US Resumes Visa Services in Turkey, Easing Diplomatic Strains

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The US believes in the settlement of the visa crisis between Ankara and Washington, the US embassy in Turkey said in a message December 28.

The move comes two months after the US suspended most visa services to Turkish citizens after one of its consulate employees was arrested.

"The Department of State is confident that the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow for the full resumption of visa services in Turkey", the USA mission said in a statement on Thursday.

The diplomatic conflict increased tensions between the United States and Turkey, NATO allies that have seen their ties deteriorate since a coup attempt previous year that the Turkish government blames on a Muslim cleric who lives in the U.S.

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"Based on adherence to these assurances, the Department of State is confident that the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow for the full resumption of visa services in Turkey", the department said.

The US said it had won assurances from Ankara that there are "no additional local employees of our mission in Turkey under investigation".

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There are at least 11 United States citizens now under arrest in Turkey.

The US statement added: "We continue to have serious concerns about the existing allegations against arrested local employees of our mission in Turkey". "Turkey is a state of law, and our government has given no assurances with regards to ongoing judicial processes".

Washington had condemned the arrest of the consulate employee, a male Turkish citizen, as baseless and damaging to bilateral relations.

"We do not find it right to misinform the Turkish and American publics by saying that assurances have been given", it said.

The US suspended the issuance of non-immigrant visas for Turkish nationals in early October, after Turkey arrested a local staff member at the US consulate in Istanbul for allegedly having ties to Fethullah Gulen.

The Turkish government wants the United States to extradite Gulen to Turkey, for his alleged involvement in the failed coup.

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