France closed its diplomatic missions in Turkey until further notice Wednesday due to unspecified security reasons.
Receptions planned for Thursday – Bastille Day, which marks the start of the French Revolution – were cancelled at the embassy in Ankara and consulates in Istanbul and Izmir, according to a statement on the embassy website.
“For security reasons, July 14 receptions planned in Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir are cancelled,” the statement said. “We have informed the Turkish authorities of this decision and remain in close contact with them.
“The embassy of France in Ankara, as well as the consulate general in Istanbul, will be closed from Wednesday July 13… until further notice. We thank the French community in Turkey and all our guests for their understanding.”
The Istanbul consulate had also sent an email message to French citizens in Turkey saying there had been “concurring information of a serious threat against the organization of the July 14 celebrations in Turkey”.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke on the telephone Wednesday evening about the situation, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.
During the conversation, Ayrault reportedly told Cavusoglu about the security measures taken by France’s missions and thanked his counterpart for Turkey’s assistance.
Turkey is on a high security alert following the June 28 attack on Istanbul’s main airport which was blamed on Islamic State (Daesh) and killed 47 people.
Thirty-seven suspects have been placed under arrest over suspicion of involvement in the attacks. Of these, 15 are Turks and 22 foreigners, according to official media.
Turkey is also facing security threats from within its own borders after a ceasefire with the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) collapsed a year ago.
While the PKK focuses on targeting Turkey’s security forces in the southeast, a splinter group known as the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons has carried out bombings in Istanbul and Ankara this year.
Several foreign missions in Turkey, including the embassies and consulates of Germany and the United States, have closed for short periods this year due to a security threat.