Turkey, US raise stakes over arrest of worker
THE US and Turkey have suspended processing of visas other than for immigrants at embassies in each other's country over the arrest of a Turkish man who worked for the American embassy.
The Turkish Embassy in Washington tweeted it would "reassess the commitment of the Government of the United States to the security of Turkish mission facilities and personnel”.
It echoed part of the US's tweet about its embassy.
Last week, Turkish authorities arrested the employee for alleged links to the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish President blames for last year's failed coup attempt. Mr Gulen denies any involvement.
The employee, Metin Topuz, is accused of espionage and "attempting to overthrow the Turkish government and constitution”. Turkey's official Anadolu news agency said he allegedly communicated with police chiefs in a 2013 corruption probe, with more than 100 people involved in the attempted coup and hundreds of people using an encrypted mobile messaging application.
The US Embassy was "deeply disturbed” by the arrest.
Hamza Ulucay, a translator who worked in the US consulate in Adana, was arrested in March for alleged links to outlawed Kurdish militants.
The US statement said the suspended services will affect business, tourism, medical treatment, student, exchange visitor, crew member, media and journalist, treaty trader, diplomatic and official visas.
Relations between the two countries have been tense over disagreements on the Syrian Kurdish militants the US backs in the war against Islamic State.
Turkey considers them members of a terror group that has rebelled in Turkey for 30 years.
More than 110,000 people have been fired from government jobs and 50,000 have been arrested as part of a state of emergency declared after the failed coup in Turkey.