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US-Turkey non-immigrant visas resume

The US embassy in Turkey has resumed normal visa services for Turkish citizens, including student visas. It said Turkish authorities had adhered to assurances that no local staff would be detained or arrested for performing their duties.

Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, is a draw for tourists and students alike. Photo: Pixabay

49% of young Turks want to pursue their education abroad, according to a recent survey

The US  halted most visa services for Turkish citizens in October 2017, following a diplomatic stand-off which saw the arrest of a Turkish citizen employed at the US consulate in Istanbul. Turkey had retaliated by halting visa services in the US for Americans travelling to Turkey.

After receiving assurances that its locally employed staff members would not be arrested for performing duties such as communicating with Turkish officials, the US embassy in Ankara began processing visas on a “limited” basis in November.

In a recent statement, the US embassy said it was satisfied that Turkey’s “security posture has improved sufficiently to allow the full resumption of visa services in Turkey”.

The Turkish embassy in Washington, however, said it had provided no such assurances.

“Despite having been addressed earlier, we do not find it right for the United States to claim it had received assurances from Turkey and misinform U.S. and Turkish publics,” the embassy said in a statement.

There had been fears that the situation would impact the plans of many prospective international students wishing to travel to the US, with managing director of education counselling agency Alternatif, Serap Aslantatar, confirming that students had been calling to seek advice on the matter.

“In the beginning, a small number of students decided to change to UK”

Aslantatar told The PIE News that students due to start studying in the US this month had managed to secure interview slots as soon as the embassy re-opened student visa services.

“In the beginning, a small number of students decided to change to UK, but when US opened the student visas many preferred to wait for the interview dates,” Aslantatar said.

“I believe only a very small number of students tried to travel out of the country to get their US student visas.”

At the recent SIEM conference, director of Education Services at the British Council, Nilgün Felchner, presented findings from Next Generation Research on Turkey, which revealed 49% of young people who took part in the study wished to pursue their education abroad.

The US (11%) was found to be the most popular destination outside of their home country, followed by the UK (8%) and Germany (6%).

Despite the tested relations between the two countries, Aslantatar added that she believes the stand-off is unlikely to deter students from wishing to study in the US.

“The US will still be popular. Young graduates and university students still would like to study in the US, and as long as the visas are open this trend will not change.”

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