US, Turkey to resume full visa services

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AP reports from Ankara that the U.S. Embassy in Turkey announced Thursday that it is resuming normal visa services for Turkish citizens, saying Turkish authorities had adhered to assurances that no local staff would be detained or arrested for performing their duties.

Turkey, though, denied any such assurances since two local employees of the USA consulate in Istanbul were held on suspicion of ties to last year's failed coup against President Tayyip Erdogan.

According to the message, the U.S. embassy will also restore the issuance of visas to Turkish citizens.

Turkey isn't the only place in which the USA has slashed visa services as a result of poor diplomatic relations.

In November, the USA resumed limited visa services, which was a move matched by Turkey's missions in the U.S.

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On Thursday, the USA mission to Turkey said the Turkish government had followed through on its "high-level assurances" that no additional U.S. employees in Turkey were under investigation.

Non-immigrant visas include student, tourist, media and work visas. "Ankara has assured the United States at the highest level about the cessation of arrests or any further investigation of any embassy staff of USA consulate general - the representatives of the U.S. embassy said".

United States authorities then sought assurances from top Turkish officials that no further staff members would be placed under investigation.

The Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C., in turn, also announced lifting of restrictions on visa services, adding that it welcomed the U.S.' decision.

Although the embassy said it still remains concerned for its arrested staff in Turkey, the progress in ironing out differences may ease the perception of political risk, a key reason for the lira's weakness against the dollar in the fourth quarter.

Ankara assured the U.S. that in the future that Turkish authorities will notify Washington in advance about any possible detention/investigation of any USA embassy staff member in Turkey.

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