Turkey-US had productive visa talks, the U.S. State Department says

Fri 20 October 2017 07:40 GMT | 11:40 Local Time

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The U.S. and Turkey had a "productive" meeting about the visa spat, the U.S. State Department said late Wednesday.

"Those talks were described to me as productive, that they made substantial progress in the overall agenda," the State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Thursday. "We will remain engaged as a matter of priority to address the relevant issues with a view to restore normal visa procedures swiftly."

According to Daily Sabah, the parties also discussed the composition and terms of reference regarding the proposed joint working committee and agreed that the decision will be finalized soon.

The row was sparked on Oct. 8, when the U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced the suspension of non-immigrant visa services for Turkish nationals, following the arrest of a local employee at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Ankara.

Metin Topuz, a long-standing consulate employee, was arrested last week over alleged ties to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, the group behind last year's defeated coup attempt in Turkey. 

He has allegedly been linked to 121 FETÖ suspects, including police chiefs, over a prolonged period, a statement by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said. 

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

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