Turkey warns citizens travelling to United States of arbitrary arrest


It's the latest volley in a tit-for-tat diplomatic row between Washington and Ankara - two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

"Turkish citizens traveling to the United States may be subjected to arbitrary detentions based on testimonies of unrespected sources", the ministry said in a statement dated Thursday.

As Turkish Daily Sabah writes in the article Turkey issues travel warning for United States, cites increase in terror attacks, "an apparent increase in terror attacks and violent incidents in the USA has been seen recently".

Speaking to reporters after Friday prayers, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the reciprocal travel warnings did not help the strained ties between Ankara and Washington.

"Ankara is as safe as Washington, Istanbul is as safe as New York", Yildirim said Friday.

Relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been strained recently over a number of issues.

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 USA sanctions. Among the latest developments was the recent arrest and conviction of a Turkish banker in the United States who was found guilty of violating global sanctions against Iran.

The banker's trial heard testimony about corruption from senior Turkish officials.

The U.S.' refusal to extradite Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) leader Fethullah Gülen, who was a mastermind behind the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, is one of the longest-standing disputes between Ankara and Washington.

Gulen has denied the charges and condemned the coup.

Meanwhile several bodyguards of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been indicted in absentia over a fracas during his visit to the USA past year. Meanwhile, Turkish officials have been busily firing and arresting tens-of-thousands of people it accuses of having ties to Gulen.

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

Turkey is also upset that the USA has supported a Kurdish militia, which Ankara considers to be a terrorist organization, inside Syria.