The US Embassy in Ankara tweeted on Tuesday that appointments to secure non-immigrant visas are not available until early 2019 due to a backlog of applications following a diplomatic spat in October that resulted in the two countries mutually suspending visa issuance.
“In spite of long wait times, the U.S. Mission to Turkey continues to process non-immigrant visas. Appointments are available for January 2019, and applicants can as always choose to apply outside of Turkey,” the embassy said on its official Twitter account.
The US Embassy in Turkey had announced the resumption of visa operations on a “limited basis” in early November after getting what it said were “high-level assurances” from the Turkish government regarding the safety of its staff.
“We have received initial high-level assurances from the Government of Turkey that there are no additional local employees of our Mission in Turkey under investigation. We have also received initial assurances from the Government of Turkey that our local staff will not be detained or arrested for performing their official duties and that Turkish authorities will inform the U.S. government in advance if the Government of Turkey intends to detain or arrest a member of our local staff in the future.
“Based on these preliminary assurances, we believe the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow for the resumption of limited visa services in Turkey. We continue to have serious concerns about the existing cases against arrested local employees of our Mission in Turkey. We are also concerned about the cases against U.S. citizens who have been arrested under the state of emergency. U.S. officials will continue to engage with their Turkish counterparts to seek a satisfactory resolution of these cases,” the embassy announced on its website on Nov. 6.
On Oct. 8 the US and Turkey halted non-immigrant visa services in their respective missions after Metin Topuz, a staff member at the US Consulate General in İstanbul, was arrested on Oct. 4 on espionage charges and alleged links to some leading members of the faith-based Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016.
In March 2017 Hamza Uluçay, a translator at the US Consulate in the southern province of Adana, was arrested on charges of membership in a “terrorist” organization, and a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) worker was recently detained in Istanbul. Both are accused of links to last year’s coup attempt.
The US Embassy has called the accusations baseless.