Apparently the old adage, “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” is not taught in Turkey. Today, Turkey suspended the issuance of visas to U.S. citizens, effectively killing all U.S. tourism.
I love Turkey, but the nation is still hurting from the string of terrorist attacks over the last few years that scared off most tourists. Businesses are desperate for visitors. Turkey made it somewhat easier to visit with a new and cheaper e-visa system, but that’s all been placed on hold.
After a U.S. consulate employee was arrested in Turkey last week for spurious reasons, the U.S. responded by suspending the issue of all non-immigrant visa in Turkey.
Recent events have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of government of Turkey to the security of U.S. mission and personnel. In order to minimise the number of visitors to our embassy and consulates while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey.
Clever Turkey merely switched “US” and “Turkey” in its own tit-for-tat response hours later:
Recent events have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of government of Turkey to the security of U.S. mission and personnel. In order to minimise the number of the visitors to our diplomatic and consular missions in the US while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all visa services regarding the US citizens at our diplomatic and consular missions in the US. This measure will apply to sticker visas as well as e-visas and border visas.
Note the last sentence: it applies to e-visas and border visas.
Turkish e-Visa Page Already Blocked for U.S. Citizens
Sure enough, if you visit the Turkish e-visa page, start a new application, and choose “USA” for citizenship, you’ll encounter the following message:
I don’t see another way to read this except that U.S. citizens are not currently welcomed to visit Turkey. I do think transit without visa will still be permitted and visas already issued may still be valid. We don’t know yet. We will see and I will certainly report back.
Mark this as developing. I’ll save my commentary for later, but it is probably already clear how shortsighted I find this policy. We will see if visas are granted to U.S. citizens from diplomatic missions in other countries, but I doubt it.
Please chime in if you have any experience today entering Turkey as a U.S. citizens.
Later today I’ll discuss what this means for Turkish Airlines. As it turns out, I have a trip booked via Istanbul coming up in Turkish Business Class with a 23-hour layover. I had planned to leave the airport, but at this point I may scrap the trip…