Turkey warns citizens against US travel over security

Foreign ministry says revise travel plans or act with caution because of risks of ‘terrorism’ and arbitrary detention.

A sign for Turkish Airlines stands near the counters inside of JFK International Airport in New York
A sign for Turkish Airlines stands near the counters in JFK International Airport, New York [File: Lucas Jackson/Reuters]

Turkey has warned its citizens to revise their travel plans to the United States or to exercise caution if they go ahead with a trip, according to the foreign ministry.

A statement on Friday cited risks of “terrorist” attacks as well as arbitrary arrests in Turkey’s Western ally.

“It has been observed that there is a recent increase in terrorist and violent attacks in the US,” the foreign ministry said, referring to several deadly incidents over the past few months.

“Attacks by vehicles being driven on crowds, in addition to bomb and gun attacks, are likely to continue to target city centres, cultural events, subway stations, state buildings, places of worship and school campuses,” the statement continued, adding that there is also a risk of arbitrary arrest for Turkish citizens travelling to the US.

The ministry mentioned recent incidents including attacks at Ohio University’s campusFort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, Dar Al-Farooq Mosque in Minnesota and a church in Texas

It added that the New York City subway pipe bomb attack in December was “an example of far-right/racist incidents”.

The ministry also warned of alleged “arbitrary arrests” of Turkish citizens, including public servants travelling to the US for official duty.

The move came after the US announced a new travel advisory on Wednesday and named Turkey as a country with an “increased security risk” along with Sudan, Pakistan and Guatemala.

Separately, Turkey summoned senior US diplomat Philip Kosnett to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara on Thursday over Washington’s support for Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Tensions have been simmering between Washington and Ankara for some time. 

In October, the two NATO allies were involved in a visa disputemotivated both by Washington’s concern over Ankara’s Syria policy and by the arrest of a US embassy employee who allegedly had information on American involvement in the 2016 failed coup attempt.

Source: Al Jazeera