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U.S. Suspends Nonimmigrant Visa Services In Turkey

The U.S. mission to Turkey says it is suspending all nonimmigrant visa services in the country, following the arrest of a consulate employee.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara said on October 8 that recent events have forced it to "reassess the commitment of the Government of Turkey to the security of U.S. Mission facilities and personnel."

A statement said the suspension of nonimmigrant visas was "effective immediately."

The announcement comes after Turkish media reported that a local employee working at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul was remanded in custody by a court on October 4 on accusations of links to the group of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says orchestrated last year's failed coup.

The man has been formally charged with espionage and seeking to overthrow the Turkish government, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara said on October 5 that the United States is "deeply disturbed" over the arrest, adding, "We believe these allegations to be wholly without merit."

Ankara has pressed Washington for Gulen's extradition. The cleric has denied any link to the July 2016 coup attempt.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and dpa