Tabnak – Once deemed to be just a temporary tension between two NATO allies, US-Turkey rift has now come to the public eyes with the two countries mutually suspending the work of their consulates. However, the issue has started to affect Turkey at the economic sphere.
According to a Press TV report, Turkey has summoned the US embassy undersecretary and called for an end to a dispute between the two countries after they suspended visa services in a tit-for-tat fallout between the NATO allies.
Philip Kosnett was told that Washington's move in freezing visa services by US diplomatic missions in Turkey had caused "unnecessary tensions" and should be reversed, Turkish Foreign Ministry sources said Monday.
The diplomatic row started after Turkish authorities ordered the arrest of an employee with the US Embassy in Ankara earlier in the week, accusing him of bearing links with the followers of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
The US reacted to the arrest by suspending non-immigrant visa services at its diplomatic missions in Turkey on Sunday, prompting Ankara to freezing "all visa services" for Americans in the US.
Meanwhile, BBC reported on Monday that Turkey has issued an arrest warrant for a US consulate worker, the second in a week. The detention of a member of staff, a Turkish national, in Istanbul last week triggered a diplomatic row, prompting both sides to halt most visa services.
The row however has driven down Turkey's currency and stocks. According to Bloomberg, the lira dropped 2.2 percent to 3.6963 against the dollar as of 12:48 p.m. in Istanbul, after plunging as much as 6.6 percent. The benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index of stocks declined 3.2 percent.
The main BIST 100 stock index fell as much as 4.7 percent and was down 3.21 percent at 100,800 points at 1137 GMT. Airline shares were particularly hard hit, with flag carrier Turkish Airlines falling 8 percent.
Turkey’s leading business association, TUSIAD, warned that the dispute would harm bilateral economic, social and cultural ties, and called for disagreements to be settled calmly.
It should be noted that the visa spat comes as Turkish troops are preparing to deepen their involvement next door in Syria, where Turkey is planning a joint mission with Russia and Iran to create a combat-free zone in the Idlib province.
Erdogan vowed Sunday to prevent Kurdish militant groups, who’ve been battling Turkish forces for decades, from creating a "terror corridor” from Iraq to the Mediterranean.
Turkey has also rebuffed the US over charges that a former economy minister and a state bank conspired to help Iran launder hundreds of millions of dollars through the US financial system, as well as its decision to buy a Russian missile-defense system that isn’t compatible with NATO.