Turkey appeals for lifting of U.S. travel restriction amid diplomatic dispute

Oct. 9 (UPI) — The Turkish government reportedly issued another arrest warrant for a U.S. Consulate staff member Monday — the latest move in a diplomatic row that escalated over the weekend.

The warrant was issued for an unnamed employee — and prosecutors said they had ordered the questioning of another consulate official as a suspect in an unidentified case, The Guardian reported.

The wife and son of the unnamed subject of the warrant, who worked in the Consulate handling issues with Turkish law enforcement, were also said to be questioned by authorities.

Monday’s would mark the second arrest warrant given for a Consulate employee in the last week.

Last Wednesday, employee Metin Topuz was arrested for alleged ties to exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen — a man classified by Turkey as a terrorist and accused of orchestrating last year’s attempted military coup. Gülen purportedly lives in Pennsylvania.

Since the failed coup, Turkish officials have worked to rid the government, educational system and military of suspected Gülen supporters.

A few days after Topuz’s arrest, the U.S. embassy in Turkey said it was suspending the processing of all non-immigrant visas in Turkey “in order to minimize the number of the visitors to our diplomatic and consular missions in the U.S. while this assessment proceeds.”

Less than 24-hours later, the Turkish embassy in Washington announced “it had suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all Turkish diplomatic missions” in the United States.

John Bass, the departing U.S. ambassador to Turkey, said some members of Turkish government are motivated by “vengeance rather than justice.”

Also Monday, Turkey’s foreign ministry officials summoned U.S. Consulate Charge d’Affaires to Turkey Philip Kosnett to hear the case against the U.S. decision to suspend the visa applications, calling the move an “unnecessary escalation” of tensions.

The Anadolu News Agency reported it expected the foreign ministry to tell Kosnett to lift the U.S. restrictions.

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