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Turkey denies visas of WNBA players

Political controversy stops WNBA players from entering Turkey to play for their European Clubs.

Air Berlin To Shutter By End Of October Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

No visa, no entry, no off-season European play.

Global diplomatic disputes between the United States and Turkey denied Brionna Jones of the Connecticut Sun and Emma Cannon of the Phoenix Mercury from entering into Turkey for their winter, off-season play recently.

"I think this situation will hurt a lot of teams in the long run," Cannon stated via a text message to the Associated Press. I'm not happy about missing my first Euroleague game, and not be there for my teammates. But this is something way bigger than basketball, so I will cheer on my team and get ready for the next game."

Jones and Cannon are both members of the Russian Team Nadezhda during the WNBA offseason where they make additional income. The two players told the Associated Press in texts that when they were at the airport in Moscow, they were addressed by the team president alerting them that they would not be allowed to enter Turkey.

On Sunday, the U.S. suspended the issuing of Turkish citizens looking to visit or study in the United States following Turkey’s arrest of U.S. consulate employee Metin Topuz last week on allegations of espionage.

Immediately as a contentious response, Turkey halted Visa services in the U.S.

Many other WNBA players are already playing in Turkey for Turkish clubs, including New York Liberty players Kia Vaughn, Kiah Stokes and Bria Hartley. They had valid visas and were in the country before the dispute arose.

Several other players are unable to even travel to play for European clubs because of the political situation, including Chelsea Gray and Jantel Lavender of the Los Angeles Sparks, who are currently stuck in the US.