United States mission to Turkey suspends visa services for security reasons

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan said the $800 million of trade between the two countries "is not enough" and that it should increase sharply in the near future.

The Turkish Embassy in Washington responded with a similar statement on Twitter late Sunday and said it would "reassess the commitment of the Government of the United States to the security of Turkish mission facilities and personnel".

But a later version said: "This measure will apply to sticker visas as well as e-Visas and border visas", leaving open the question of whether U.S. travellers who already have visas would be allowed to enter Turkey.

This week, Turkish authorities arrested a U.S. Consulate employee of Turkish nationality for alleged links to the network of U.S. -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government blames for last summer's failed coup. Bass is at the end of his posting and is due to leave Turkey at the weekend.

Turkey is calling for a normalization of relations with the United States following rising diplomatic tensions between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

The U.S. statement said the suspension of non-immigrant visa services was "effective immediately" to minimize visitor numbers to the U.S. Embassy and Consulate for now.

"Trying a Turkish citizen for a crime committed in Turkey is our right".

"We hope that relations between two allies will return to normal in a short time", he said in the Turkish capital.

Meanwhile, American pastor Andrew Brunson, who ran a church in the western city of Izmir, has been held in Turkey since October 2016 on charges of being a member of Gulen's group.

President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan's three-day visit to Serbia-- the first at this level since 2007 - carries considerable importance for bilateral relations and will influence regional stability, Serbia's ambassador to Turkey told Anadolu Agency (AA).

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