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Turkish citizens traveling to USA 'face risk of arbitrary arrest' - Ankara

13 January 2018, 12:39 | Taylor George

Turkish citizens traveling to USA 'face risk of arbitrary arrest' - Ankara

Turkish citizens traveling to USA 'face risk of arbitrary arrest' - Ankara

Turkey has warned its citizens to revise their travel plans to the United States or to exercise caution if they go ahead with a trip, according to the foreign ministry.

The comments from the Turkish Foreign Ministry come after the US Department of State this week made a similar warning to its citizens, saying Americans planning to visit Turkey should reconsider plans due to "terrorism and arbitrary detentions".

The warning published on the official website said: "It has been observed that there have been increasing cases of terror and violent acts in the United States".

The tit-for-tat diplomacy fits the recent deterioration in relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Washington suspended visa services for Turkish citizens after Istanbul consulate staffer Metin Topuz was arrested in October over suspected links to a cleric blamed for Turkey's 2016 failed coup.

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That crisis was resolved in December when the United States said it had won assurances from Ankara that no further legal proceedings would be launched against its staff, though Turkey insisted it had given no assurances.

Ties between the allies have deteriorated over what many in Turkey perceive as a USA reluctance to extradite US -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for a 2016 failed coup attempt.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the U.S.travel warning "unfairly" portrayed Turkey as an unsafe country and did nothing to improve frayed ties between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

It singled out areas along the Turkish-Syrian border and area where the Turkish army is fighting Kurdish militants, warning that United States citizens could be accused of being linked to terror groups with "scant or secret evidence and grounds that appear to be politically motivated".

The ministry also warned of alleged "arbitrary arrests" of Turkish citizens, including public servants travelling to the USA for official duty. There are also tensions over charges against several Turks accused of helping a Turkish-Iranian gold trader evade USA sanctions on Iran, and US support for Kurdish groups in Syria that Turkey considers to be terrorist organizations.



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