A visa suspension between Turkey and Washington is "overblown" and will likely be resolved soon, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said.
"This is a temporary undesired dispute and it has no political interference," Simsek said at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington during his visit to attend the the World Bank and IMF annual meetings. "We hope that pretty soon this issue will be resolved."
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Describing the detention of staff at the U.S. missions as a "routine investigation", Simsek said security and safety of the U.S. diplomats and employees are Turkey's "top priority".
The U.S. Embassy in Turkey announced Sunday it was suspending the issuance of non-immigrant visas to Turkish nationals following the arrest of Metin Topuz, a Turkish employee at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.
In a retaliatory move, Turkey's Washington Embassy also suspended non-immigrant visa services.
Topuz is suspected to be linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) that Ankara accuses of being behind a defeated coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, according to a judicial source.
"I want to be very clear. We don’t want this dispute to last more than a second," Simsek said, recalling that Turkey and the U.S. have been allies for more than half a century.
"Turkey is not doing arbitrary arrests. There are no political hostages," he noted. "Give us the benefit of doubt that Turkish judicial system works and is functioning."
Simsek invited U.S.-based investors and companies to invest in Turkey, stating his country's economy has been developing and will continue to improve its investment plan despite many challenges.
"Turkey has gone a long way over the last decade-and-a-half but the story is not done. Nothing is going to change that. Eighty plus million Turks have a strong desire to catch up and we are going to catch up," Simsek noted. "And that means a long way to go in terms of growth, sales, and opportunities."
"We need each other. Economically we cannot ignore each other. The United States is one of the main engines of global economy. Turkey is also the world’s 13th largest economy with a $2.1 trillion GDP and the fifth largest in Europe," he stressed.
Simsek thanked U.S. companies that are operating in Turkey. "We welcome U.S. businesses and very much appreciate the presence of almost 1,700 U.S. companies in Turkey,” he said.
By Safvan Allahverdi
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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