Turkey: Four held for alleged UK, German embassies plot

British, German missions in Ankara close, while state media says four are detained in connection to potential attack.

There is a permanent security roadblock at the entrance of the British embassy in Ankara [Tumay Berkin/Reuters]
There is a permanent security roadblock at the entrance of the British embassy in Ankara [Tumay Berkin/Reuters]

Police have detained four people in connection with a potential attack against the British and German embassies in the Turkish capital Ankara, according to state-run media.

The reports came after Britain’s Foreign Office said its embassy in Ankara was closed on Friday for “security reasons”, and after the German embassy said its missions in Turkey were providing “limited services until Friday”.

Three people in Ankara and one person in Istanbul were detained connected to the threat against the two embassies, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency said. 

An investigation was launched after intelligence suggested a possible threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group to the missions, the agency said, but investigators found no links to any “terrorist” groups.

“We continue to cooperate closely and share information with the foreign missions,” an official from Turkey’s interior ministry told broadcaster Haberturk.

‘We take such leads seriously’

In the past 12 months, Turkey has been hit by a series of attacks blamed on ISIL and Kurdish fighters. Foreign missions have closed down on occasion due to security alerts.

In a statement on Friday, Britain’s foreign office said on Twitter that it had shut its embassy in Ankara for security reasons, without giving further details.

“Turkish authorities are taking necessary precautions about the threat,” Richard Moore, Britain’s ambassador to Turkey, said on Twitter.

“But it is an acceptable policy to close down the embassy in a situation like this”.

On Wednesday, the German embassy in Ankara said as well as offering limited services this week, its missions would “remain closed for any meetings”, without giving further details.

A spokesman for Germany’s Foreign Ministry confirmed on Friday the closure of the diplomatic offices, citing both a four-day public holiday in Turkey and information, which he described as “not completely verifiable”, about a potential attack.

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“We take such leads seriously,” the spokesman told a news conference in Berlin on Friday, according to the Reuters news agency.

“So we decided to keep our diplomatic missions and German schools in Turkey closed this week. It was a precautionary measure.”

He said the government would soon make a decision on whether the missions would reopen on Monday.

Like most foreign missions in Turkey, the British and German embassies had been closed for consular services throughout the Eid al-Adha holiday which began on September 12.

But they had been due to reopen on September, 16 with the holiday officially over.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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