The Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), which represents the broadest diversity of Turkish Americans nationwide, urges the US Department of State to lift the suspension of non-immigrant visa services at the US Embassy and consulates in Turkey.
In response to requests for assistance from Turkish Americans whose friends and families have been denied the opportunity to apply for visas at convenient locations in Turkey so that they could join loved ones for Thanksgiving and holiday season events in America, the TASC Board of Directors respectfully submits:
- The suspension of non-immigrant visa services singles out and punishes Turkish Americans by denying them the fundamental dignity to host family and friends from Turkey for the holidays in America.
- Regarding the alleged security concerns to justify the suspension of non-immigrant visa services, it should be noted that the United States Embassy and Consulates in Turkey are among the safest in the world. The people of Turkey who apply for visas do not per se present danger to the US foreign mission. Any remaining security concerns do not warrant such a broad targeting of people of Turkish heritage. Such broad targeting serves the enemies of America by driving a wedge between the Turkish and American people. TASC thanks the Turkish Intelligence Community and Metropolitan Police Departments of Ankara, Istanbul and other Turkish cities where the United States Foreign Mission is located, for protecting the US Foreign Mission in Turkey so very well.
- Sadly, the suspension of non-immigrant visa services is retaliation against people of Turkish heritage for Turkish law enforcement’s arrest of two Turkish citizens on charges of espionage, i.e., spying against the people of Turkey on Turkish soil. People of Turkish heritage do not warrant this retaliation.
- Turkish Americans support the safety and security of the United States at home and abroad, serving in the military, law enforcement and intelligence community. TASC serves in the Liaison Council of the United States Director of National Intelligence to make sure America has access to the best human resources to defend the homeland. TASC is proud that as a NATO member since 1952, Turkey is a major ally and strategic partner of the United States in protecting freedom and democracy at home and abroad.
- The Turkish Embassy and consulates in America are among the most protected in the world, after four Turkish diplomats were assassinated on American soil. TASC thanks the United States intelligence community, Secret Service and Metropolitan Police Departments of Washington DC and all American cities where the Turkish Foreign Mission is located, for serving and protecting.
In conclusion, TASC urges the United States Department of State to lift the suspension of non-immigrant visa services at the US Embassy and Consulates in Turkey for tourists, business people, students, scholars, scientists, artists and those who are in need of immediate medical care. TASC discourages drama and urges immediate and meaningful dialogue between the United States and Turkey on issues pertinent to their mutual interests.
Board of Directors
Turkish American National Steering Committee
Gunay Evinch, Esq., Co-Chairman
Dr. Halil Mutlu, Co-Chairman
Oya Bain, Secretary General
Murat Guzel, Treasurer
Hasan Turgut Guclu
Ayhan Ogmen, Esq.