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Speaking at the daily press briefing yesterday (November 7), United States (US) Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert answered the questions regarding the visa tension between Turkey and the US.
Stating that they had "a series of positive conversations with the Government of Turkey, that was a step in the right direction", Nauert said that the US is taking a limited number of appointments for all nonimmigrant visa classes and were prioritizing medical, humanitarian, and student visas.
"Turkey gave limited assurance"
Nauert informed that people who want to obtain visas were now able to do so in both Istanbul and Ankara and characterized the current positive development as "based on what we consider to be improved security conditions at our U.S. Mission in Turkey".
Noting that the US was only able to allow visa services on a limited basis right now, Nauert said:
"But we are prioritizing medical, humanitarian, and also student visas in those cases. We've had a series of what I would describe as fairly positive conversations with the Government of Turkey. This is certainly a step in the right direction. It's a positive step. We have received limited assurances that if something should happen with our staff, if Turkey wants to detain our staff, that we will be given a heads-up. That's among the things that we were assured. We were told that they wouldn't arrest our people simply for doing their jobs.
"We still have two of our locally employed staff members who have been detained. In terms of Turkeys' questioning of our previous statements, I can tell you that the safety and security of our folks is a top issue.
"The people who were detained as a natural course of their business had to engage with law enforcement, with the Turkish Government. That is something that is an appropriate part of their job. It is a part of their job description. And for Turkey to put people in jail and claim that they are involved in activities when they're simply doing their jobs we think is incorrect. But nevertheless, we've taken – they've taken some steps in the right direction, and we've taken some steps in the right direction". (EKN/DG)
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