US and Turkey suspend visa services

The US and Turkey have temporarily stopped issuing visas to each other's citizens. The US embassy in Ankara made the move on the weekend in reaction to the arrest of an employee of the US consulate in Istanbul accused of having ties to the Gülen movement. Turkey's commentators discuss the repercussions.

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T24 (TR) /

Erdoğan is leading his country to a dead end

By falling out with his allies President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is once again harming his country's interests, T24 complains:

“From the standpoint of political and economic stability the disputes with the EU, the US and Merkel's Germany could be very costly for Turkey. Negative repercussions can already be felt in the economy and on the markets. The Turkish people are worried but they're keeping their mouths shut because they're afraid of Erdoğan. Conflicts with the US, the EU and Germany have limited Turkey's room to manoeuvre. A Turkey that breaks with the West like this will also lose it's clout in the East. It can only go so far with Russia and Iran because Moscow and Tehran have no interest in a stable Turkey in the region. Both prefer to use Turkey to a certain point before letting it drop like a hot potato.”

Milliyet (TR) /

Turks won't give up

The US's unacceptable visa sanctions against Turkey must be seen in the context of other developments in the region, Milliyet stresses:

“From the Iraqi Kurdistan leadership's adventurous bid for independence to the attempt to create a corridor in northern Syria in order to declare an independent Kurdish state, the difficulties Turkey's economy is experiencing and the fluctuations in the value of the Turkish lira are all connected to the US's visa decision. The resulting picture appears to be having a decisive impact on Turkey's long-term political preferences. The Turks have no fear in such situations - on the contrary, they close ranks. The [attempted coup of] July 15 is the best proof of that.”

Hürriyet (TR) /

Gülen triggering a major crisis

The US's refusal to extradite Islam preacher Gülen who is currently living in Pennsylvania caused the visa dispute, Hürriyet puts forward:

“Fethullah Gülen and his supporters are no doubt happy with the current situation. The relations between Turkey and the US are experiencing one of the most series crises in their history because of an issue connected to the Gülen files. The Pennsylvania mortgage is putting a major strain on these relations. ... The US took a long time to realise how much it harms these relations by shrugging off Ankara's concerns with complete indifference and sheltering the leader of the Fetö/PYD-Organisation - and the man responsible for the attempted coup of July 15.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Dispute must be swiftly resolved

Despite all their differences the two states should not put their partnership at risk, the Financial Times warns:

“For the US, Turkey remains a strategic ally and partner in counter-terrorism, even if the fight against Isis is not Ankara's priority. It will not wish to put this in jeopardy. And while Mr Erdogan has increasingly found it necessary to work with Russia and Iran on regional issues, he will not wish to be reliant on those alliances. After all, Turkey's fortunes have always rested on its close ties with the west. … That is precisely why the visa suspensions will rankle, and why it is in everyone's interests to find a swift resolution.”

Berlingske (DK) /

How important is Nato for Turkey?

Turkey is increasingly turning its back on Nato, Berlingske fears:

“Turkey's position between Russia and the Middle East continues to be strategically important for Nato. But Erdoğan is on such a zig-zag course that the Alliance's most important partners are worried about where Turkey's path will lead. ... It is constantly getting into conflicts with the Western nations and its slide in the direction of an Islamic-led country leaves the democracies in Nato wondering what Turkey wants: to become a new superpower in the Middle East with Russia's consent and without Nato? Or to go on being a loyal partner of the Alliance? The latter, or so some Nato members fear, is already a closed chapter.”