Erdogan says US decision to halt Turkey visas ‘very saddening’
Video provided by AFP
ISTANBUL â Sinan SÃ¶kmenâs business depends on American tourism, so when the United States and Turkey suspended visitorÂ visas this week, he was shocked.
âWe were not expecting such harsh political moves from both sides, but I didnât think this would last more than a couple of daysÂ because it was affecting everyday peopleâs lives,â said SÃ¶kmen, owner of Istanbul Tour Studio, which works with English-speaking visitors.Â âThis is between the politicians, and if American travelers come to Turkey after this crisis, there will be no hostilities towardÂ them from the Turkish people.â
While the initial panicÂ from Sunday’s diplomatic crisis began to subside Wednesday, the latest confrontationÂ between Turkey and the United States signals theÂ deteriorating relationship between two critical military and economic allies that is unlikely to go away soon.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party renewed calls Wednesday for the U.S. to reverse its decision to stop processing non-immigrant visas in Turkey.Â The U.S. governmentÂ took thatÂ step following the arrest of Metin Topuz, a Turkish employee of its consulateÂ hereÂ on charges of espionage and links to Pennsylvania-based clericÂ Fethullah Gulen.Â Topuz was the second Turkish employee of a U.S. diplomatic mission to be arrested.Â
The Turkish government blames Gulen for orchestrating last year’s coup attempt against Erdogan and has demanded that the U.S. extradite him, something Washington has so far refused to do.Â
Turkey retaliated byÂ suspending non-immigrant visas to U.S. citizens, and…