Turkey halts all visa services for American citizens in US

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Kiev

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Kiev

The president of Turkey said his country considers the issue of Crimea to be very important and sensitive.

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.

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

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On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a visit to Ukraine, held a meeting with Poroshenko and participated in the sixth meeting of the Turkey-Ukraine High Level Strategic Council, co-chaired by the two leaders.

Erdogan said that the current trade exchange between the two countries of $800 million (682 million euros) "is not enough" and that it should rapidly grow in the near future.

The prime minister told governors that Ankara would use "common sense" in dealing with the situation at a time when regional and global tensions have been rising.

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But the State Department said that Bass had been operating with the full authority of the USA government. Bass is due to leave Turkey later this week for a new assignment in Afghanistan.

Some Turkish officials have long alleged a USA hand in the coup attempt on July 15 a year ago, which Ankara blames on the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen. Gulen denies any involvement.

US pastor Andrew Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for over 20 years, has also been behind bars for a year for alleged links to Gulen.

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Turkey says it is halting all visa services for Americans at its diplomatic missions in the U.S. in a tit-for-tat move after the U.S. administration made a similar announcement.

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