World Bulletin / News Desk
The U.S. Embassy in Turkey has taken the decision to suspend visa services in coordination with the White House and State Department, a spokesperson for the department said Tuesday.
"Our ambassadors tend to not do things unilaterally," Heather Nauert told reporters.
"This was coordinated with the State Department. It was coordinated with the White House and coordinated with the NSC (National Security Council).”
On Sunday, The U.S. announced the suspension of all non-immigrant visa services at U.S. missions in Turkey. The Turkish Embassy in Washington took a similar decision in retaliation.
Nauert said the U.S. was "very disappointed" by the Turkish government's arrest of two of their local staff, including Metin Topuz. Topuz, who worked at the U.S.’s Istanbul Consulate as a local employee, was remanded in custody over terror charges by an Istanbul court on Wednesday.
Topuz is linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind last year’s defeated coup in Turkey, a Turkish judicial source said Wednesday.
"The State Department relies significantly on locally employed staff all around the world. We would not be able to do our jobs at the State Department without all these folks who are citizens of other countries who assist the State Department in their activities," Nauert said.
"Turkey had arrested this year two of our locally employed staff in different locations and then had called in a third staff member just over the weekend," she said.
According to Nauert, Turkish authorities summoned the third employee, but the person of interest has not been formally arrested yet.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the attempted coup, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
In response to a question about Washington’s expectations from Ankara amid the showdown, Nauert said: "I think a good start would be to allow them access to their attorneys," referring to the two detained U.S. consular employees.
She claimed the U.S. has not seen any evidence that supports what the Turkish government accuses them of.
Nauert also said the diplomatic crisis with Turkey was discussed in a meeting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis had with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Terrorists were reportedly plotting to attack Turkish bases
Israeli army says the attack came after rocket fire from Gaza
Trump's special representative has blamed Hamas for causing "misery" in Gaza
It is still a wide-open race to succeed President Enrique Pena Nieto, who is deeply unpopular heading into the final stretch of his six-year term in a Mexico beset by endless corruption scandals and record levels of violent crime.
His comments came as he faces criticism from survivors of the attack over his ties to the powerful National Rifle Association, and after several thousand rallied in Florida to demand urgent action on gun control.
Temer came to the city to meet Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao, several ministers and General Walter Souza Braga Netto, who will lead the operation and who was in charge of coordinating security when the city hosted the 2016 Olympic Games.
Muslims have suffered the most by far from ISIL’s terrorist attacks, Iraqi premier tells Munich Security Conference
Israel struck six targets affiliated with Hamas's armed wing in Gaza Strip, Palestinian security source says
Washington concurs with Ankara on need for locals taking control of liberated areas, says US defense secretary
Army uses live ammunition, rubber bullets to disperse stone-throwing Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza
"Deal of the Century" refers to a back-channel U.S. plan to settle the Palestine-Israel dispute
Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete and Alejandro Murat, governor of the state of Oaxaca, were on their way to survey the scene of the destruction left by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake when the accident occurred, the interior ministry tweeted.
The arrival of Trump and his wife Melania came at the end of a difficult day for the families of those killed in Wednesday's rampage at a high school in Parkland, Florida, who learned that the carnage could perhaps have been averted.
Trump to consider report suggesting high tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum imports