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Turkey halts all visa services for American citizens in US

Turkey halts all visa services for American citizens in US

Relations are deeply strained following the arrest of local USA consulate employee Metin Topuz on terrorism and espionage charges in relation to a failed coup a year ago against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Bass has already received a new appointment in Afghanistan, but before his departure he will have farewell meetings with representatives of the Turkish state as ministers and the Speaker of Parliament.

Erdogan said that the current trade exchange between the two countries of $800 million (682 million euros) "is not enough" and that it should rapidly grow in the near future.

Sandzak, where many people consider Bosnia or Turkey - rather than Serbia - as their motherland, has remained peaceful but tense over the years.

"We have felt at home during this visit to Serbia", Erdogan said. Last week, a USA consulate employee in Istanbul was arrested on charges of links to a cleric blamed for last year's failed coup, a move condemned by Washington as baseless and damaging to ties between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

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In response, the United States stopped issuing non- immigrant visas from its missions in Turkey, prompting Turkish missions in the USA to hit back with a tit-for-tat measure of their own. Bass is at the end of his posting and is due to leave Turkey at the weekend. Gulen denies any involvement.

Meanwhile, American pastor Andrew Brunson, who ran a church in the western city of Izmir, has been held in Turkey since October 2016 on charges of being a member of Gulen's group.

Turkey says it is halting all visa services for Americans at its diplomatic missions in the U.S. in a tit-for-tat move after the United States administration made a similar announcement.