September 25, 2018

German, British embassies in Turkey closed over security threats

German, British embassies in Turkey closed over security threats

Turkish authorities detained four people in an investigation into a potential threat against British and German diplomatic missions, after these missions were closed on Friday, but found no links to any terrorist groups, a Turkish official said on Friday.

“Four people were detained in relation to a potential act against the two embassies. Security remains at the highest level. We continue to cooperate closely and share information with the foreign missions,” the official said.

The investigation was prompted by intelligence about a potential Islamic State plot against the embassies, state-run Anadolu Agency said. Three of the suspects were detained in Ankara and one of them in Istanbul, it said.

Britain shut its embassy in the capital Ankara on Friday for what its foreign office said were security reasons, without giving further details.

Like most foreign missions in Turkey, the British embassy had been closed for consular services throughout the Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday which began on Sept. 12. But it had been due to reopen on Sept. 16 with the holiday officially over.

In a post on its website about travel advice for Britons in Turkey the Foreign Office said: “The British Embassy Ankara will be closed to the public on Friday 16 September for security reasons.

In its latest travel advice, Britain’s foreign office urged against travel to within 10 km (6.2 miles) of the Syrian border and to Diyarbakir, the largest city in the mainly Kurdish southeast, hit by violence after a ceasefire with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) broke down last year.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir.”

Germany also temporarily closed its embassy, consular officers and a school on Wednesday amid reports of the possibility of attacks during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

Germany’s Bild newspaper reported Wednesday that the move was taken as a precaution after the Foreign Ministry learned of rumored attacks on consular facilities in Turkey during the Eid al-Adha holiday week.

The Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the Bild report, but confirmed that its embassy in Ankara and other consular offices were closed to the public during the holiday week of Sept. 12-16.

However, he Germany embassy said on its website that its missions were only available for limited operations on Friday after a four-day public holiday this week.

Turkey has suffered a series of suicide bombings and attacks by Islamic State and Kurdish militants over the past year. It launched its first major military incursion into Syria last month to push the jihadists away from its border and prevent Kurdish fighters from seizing territory as they retreated.  embassies