Serious Consequences of Halt in Visas Between Ankara and DC

By James Jeffrey

Ambassador James F. Jeffrey joined the Wilson Center in December 2020 as Chair of the Middle East Program. Ambassador Jeffrey served as the Secretary’s Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy to the Global Coalition To Defeat ISIS until November 8, 2020. He is a senior American diplomat with experience in political, security, and energy issues in the Middle East, Turkey, Germany, and the Balkans.

On Sunday, the U.S. embassy announced the suspension of Turkish visa applications for the U.S., stating that “recent events…have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of the government of Turkey to the security of U.S. mission facilities and personnel.” In retaliation, the Turkish government suspended its own visa services to U.S. citizens early Monday morning. As the diplomatic crisis continues, The Cipher Brief’s Fritz Lodge spoke with former Ambassador to Turkey and Cipher Brief Expert James Jeffrey about how the United States can protect its embassy and consular staff in Turkey without permanently damaging relations with a key NATO ally.

The Cipher Brief: How significant is this imposition of visa restrictions?

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