The U.S. embassy in Turkey announced Sunday that it has suspended all non-immigrant visa services to Turkish citizens "effective immediately". Turkey regards numerous Kurdish militias as terrorists groups intent on agitating its own Kurdish population and has even taken steps to bomb them at certain points. The Turkish lira dropped 3.4 percent, while Turkey's main BIST 100 stock index fell as much as 4.7 percent. Murat Yurtbilir, who specializes in Turkish affairs at the Australian National University, told Bloomberg.
Just a couple of days back, both the countries were once again in the spotlight of worldwide news media when Turkey arrested an employee of US Consulate who was allegedly involved in planning the military takeover that took place a year ago and failed due to vast support from the public.
The U.S. Embassy said in a statement that it is "deeply involved", and the charges against the consulate employee are "without merit".
The incident is far from a first. Ulucay, a translator, was released and then re-arrested in March. "Delays or denial of consular access to USA citizens detained or arrested by security forces have become more common, and U.S. mission Turkey does not have consular access to arrested United States citizens who also possess Turkish citizenship".
In recent months, Erdogan has increased coordination with Russian Federation and Iran amid deepening tensions with the USA, exacerbated by Washington's decision to deliver arms to Kurdish groups that Turkey views as terrorists. Gulen denies any involvement.
Ankara accuses Gulen, who has been living in the United States since 1999, of masterminding the July 2016 failed coup attempt. "For the [U.S.] embassy to take a decision like this, to put into practice, is saddening", Erdogan said, speaking from Kiev, Ukraine. Erdogan's critics accused the president of trying to blackmail Washington.
Yet another source of tension is Turkey's increasing reliance on Russian Federation for its security needs.
In addition, Ankara's rapprochement with Russian Federation and purchase of S-400 missiles become the subject of criticism by the U.S. This week, Turkey and Russian Federation launched a joint operation meant to contain the spread of jihadist groups in the Syrian province of Idlib.
More than 37,000 USA nationals traveled to Turkey in 2016, down from 88,301 in 2015, according to Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The Turkish government has also been holding a dozen Americans in custody, alleging they participated in the coup. "You have another pastor in your hands; give him to us".
Most analysts agree it is in the interest of both sides to prevent the situation from escalating.
If Mr. Gulen were handed over, the president said, he would sort out Mr. Brunson's judicial case.