Germany, UK, Follow Netherlands in Closing Istanbul Consulates Over Terror Threat
The German and British consulates in Istanbul closed on Tuesday after the Netherlands did the same on Monday, following threats to Westerners related to recent Koran-burning stunts in European cities, BalkanInsight reports.
“The German Consulate General will remain closed today, February 1, for security reasons,” the consulate wrote on its Instagram page. Visa and passport appointments were also cancelled.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its Turkey travel advice with a terrorism warning. “There is a potential that citizens from Western countries may be targets or caught up in attacks, particularly in the major cities,” the Foreign Office wrote on its foreign travel advice page.
It cited a heightened threat of terrorist attacks against churches, synagogues, embassies/consulates and other places frequented by Westerners in Istanbul. “The British Consulate General in Istanbul is currently not open to the public as a precaution,” it added.
The US embassy also warned its nationals about heightened risks in “places Westerners frequent, especially in the Beyoglu, Galata, Taksim, and Istiklal areas [in Istanbul]”.
Turkey’s Interior Ministry said on Sunday that security measures had been raised to the highest level “after the sinister actions against our holy book, the Quran, in Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark”.
The ministry added that it was evaluating the intelligence from countries that had updated their travel advice.
Danish, Swedish and Dutch far-right groups have recently burned copies of the Koran in protest against Turkey’s decision to block Swedish and Finnish NATO membership bids.
Turkey accused the governments of allowing such actions, and warned its citizens against “possible Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist attacks” in the US and Europe.
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