By Safvan Allahverdi
A visa suspension between Turkey and Washington is "overblown" and will likely be soon resolved, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said Wednesday.
"This is a temporary undesired dispute and it has no political interference," Simsek said at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington during his visit to attend the
Describing the detention of staff at the U.S. missions as a "routine investigation", Simsek said security and safety of the U.S. diplomats and employees are Turkey's "top priority".
The U.S. Embassy in Turkey announced Sunday it was suspending the issuance of non-immigrant visas to Turkish nationals following the arrest of Metin Topuz, a Turkish employee at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.
In a retaliatory move, Turkey's Washington Embassy also suspended non-immigrant visa services.
Topuz is suspected to be linked to the
"I want to be very clear. We don’t want this dispute to last more than a second," Simsek said,
He said Turkey responded in a likewise manner to the U.S. because it is a sovereign nation but his government is committed to deepening the relationship and open to dialogue if there are any concerns about cooperation on judicial affairs.
"Turkey is not doing arbitrary arrests. There are no political hostages," he said. "Give us the benefit of doubt that Turkish judicial system works and is functioning.
"As we go forward,
"That is what friends expect from each other," he said. "Clearly these expectations on Turkey when we have gone through so much should be considered by our friends, our
Simsek invited U.S.-based investors and companies to invest in Turkey, stating his country's economy has been developing and will continue to improve its investment plan despite many challenges such as the failed coup attempt and terror attacks.
"Turkey has gone a long way over the last decade-and-a-half but the story is not done. Nothing is going to change that. Eighty plus million Turks have a strong desire to catch up and we are going to catch up," Simsek noted. "And that means
"We need each other. Economically we cannot ignore each other. The United States is one of the main engines of
He also thanked U.S. companies that have been operating in Turkey. "We welcome the U.S. business and we are very much appreciated the presence of almost 1,700 businesses in Turkey,” he said.