Ankara says visa talks with US are ‘very productive’


The United States and Turkey had a “very productive” meeting on Oct. 18 to address the ongoing visa spat, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül has told state-run Anadolu Agency.

“I believe the next phases will bring about even better results,” Gül said on Oct. 19.

“Of course, we cannot give a date or say exactly when this or that will happen, but we will respond accordingly to a decision taken on the visa situation,” he added.

The U.S. and Turkey had a “productive” meeting over the visa spat, the U.S. State Department also said late on Oct. 18.

“Talks were productive and made substantial progress on the overall agenda; we will remain engaged as a matter of priority to address the relevant issues with a view to restoring normal visa procedures swiftly,” the State Department told Anadolu Agency in a written statement.

The parties also reportedly discussed the composition and terms of reference regarding the proposed joint working committee on the issue, agreeing that the decision will be finalized soon.

Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın also stated on Oct. 18 that Ankara’s talks with Washington over the crisis are going in a “good direction” and details will be clarified in a couple of days,.

“I believe this problem will be resolved soon,” Kalın said in a televised interview.

The row was sparked on Oct. 8 after the U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced the suspension of non-immigrant visa services for Turkish nationals in Turkey, following the arrest of a local employee at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Ankara.

Metin Topuz, a long-standing consulate employee, was arrested over alleged ties to the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, accused of masterminding last year’s coup attempt. He was allegedly linked to 121 Gülenist suspects, including police chiefs, over a long period of time, a statement from the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office said.

Speaking on Oct. 19, Justice Minister Gül rejected allegations that Topuz was not given the right to talk to his lawyer, stating that he was subjected to regular, lawful procedures and was allowed to speak with his lawyer and family members.

“That is why I believe the U.S. response here was disproportionate,” he said.

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