Turkey warns citizens against traveling to United States


The travel warning updates come after the United States and Turkey lifted all visa restrictions against each other in late December, ending a months-long dispute that began when Washington suspended visa services at its Turkish missions after two local employees of the U.S. consulate were detained on suspicion of links to the coup.

The travel warning came days after the United States urged its citizens to reconsider travel to Turkey, citing terror threats and arbitrary detentions under an ongoing state of emergency.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim took issue with the U.S. warning, which he said "unfairly" portrayed Turkey as a unsafe country, and exacerbated the strained relations between the two long-time allies.

Turkey has warned its citizens about traveling to the United States, in retaliation for a new USA travel advisory about Turkey. Among the latest developments was the recent arrest and conviction of a Turkish banker in the USA who was found guilty of violating worldwide sanctions against Iran.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Friday urged citizens to reconsider travel plans to the United States, citing a series of terror attacks, violent incidents and "arbitrary arrests" - an apparent reference to a Turkish banker who was arrested in the United States and convicted of helping Iran avoid U.S. sanctions.

The trial against the banker included testimony of corruption by senior Turkish officials.

The public sector employees were sacked after being accused of downloading an encrypted messaging app known as ByLock, which the authorities say was used by the movement of US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen who is blamed for the attempted putsch.

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Turkey blames Gulen for orchestrating a failed coup in Turkey in July 2016, a charge Gulen denies.

Ankara has demanded Gulen's extradition but the U.S. has balked, citing insufficient evidence of his complicity.

"The "Turkey is not a safe country" statement does not benefit ties between the two countries", he said.

The Turkish government's warning against travel to the USA comes at a time when Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is already in the country.

Turkey and the United States suspended issuing visas a year ago after Washington complained about the detention of two locally-hired consular employees on suspicion of a role in the failed coup.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is in Los Angeles and will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of a conference in Vancouver, said he would discuss the matter with his counterpart.