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Lira plummets after Turkey, US suspend visa services

Turkey and the U.S. on Oct. 8 suspended visa services after a U.S. consulate employee was arrested in Turkey last week, sending the Turkish lira down more than 6% against the U.S. dollar in early trading hours Oct. 9, Bloomberg News reported.

The U.S. mission employee was arrested in Turkey on Oct. 4 on charges of connections with a U.S.-based Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, believed to be behind the failed coup in the country in 2016, Reuters said. Turkey wants the U.S. to extradite Gulen to Turkey.

The U.S. said Oct. 5 that the charges against the arrested man were "without merit," while Turkey said the arrested person was not part of the U.S. consulate's staff but a "local employee," Bloomberg reported.

Relations between the two nations have been strained since May, when Turkish security officials were involved in street fighting with protesters during a visit to Washington, D.C., and were later indicted, Reuters noted. Turkey also registered its protest in September over the U.S. indictment of a former Turkish economy minister for colluding to violate U.S. Iran sanctions, saying the indictment amounted to a "coup attempt" through American courts.

Having touched as low as 3.8533 per dollar, the lira traded at 3.7175 as of 11:47 a.m. in Singapore, down more than 2.5% from Friday's close, Bloomberg reported separately.