State Department: Turkey Should Allow Detained US Embassy Staff Access to Attorneys

State Department: Turkey Should Allow Detained US Embassy Staff Access to Attorneys

The Turkish embassy in Washington said it needed to "reassess" the United States government's commitment to the security of the mission and personnel.

On Sunday, the US embassy announced the suspension of non-immigrant visa services at the US diplomatic facilities in Turkey over the recent arrest of an employee of the US Consulate General in Istanbul. This suspension includes the issuance of physical sticker visas issued at border posts, as well as the online "e-visa". Turkey's official Anadolu news agency reported that he allegedly communicated with former police chiefs in a 2013 corruption probe, 121 people involved in the attempted coup and hundreds of people using an encrypted mobile messaging application.

Metin Topuz is accused of espionage and "attempting to overthrow the Turkish government and constitution".

The United States is still expecting an explanation from Ankara for the detention of USA consular staff in Turkey, Ambassador John Bass said on October 11.

Hamza Ulucay, a translator of the U.S. Consulate in the southern province of Adana, was arrested in March for alleged links to outlawed Kurdish militants.

"In order to minimise the number of visitors to our diplomatic and consular missions in the United States while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all visa services regarding the U.S. citizens at our diplomatic and consular missions", it added.

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Turkey's Justice Minister said he hoped the United States would review its decision to suspend most visa services to Turkish citizens following the arrest.

The Pentagon has said diplomatic tension between the USA and Turkey has not affected their military activities.

A court has ruled that Topuz will remain in custody while his alleged links to Gulen are investigated.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses Mr Gulen of instigating the unrest - a charge the cleric denies.

The American ambassador in Ankara, John Bass, said via Twitter the decision was taken after the arrest of a consulate worker in connection with last year's failed coup.

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