US embassy in Turkey warns of ‘terrorist’ threat and kidnappings

Mission says credible reports suggest potential ‘terrorist attacks’ against US citizens and other foreign nationals.

US mission says American consulate-general in Istanbul is a potential target of attacks [File: Reuters]

The American embassy in Turkey says it has received credible reports of potential “terrorist attacks and kidnappings” against American citizens and other foreign nationals in the country.

In a statement published on its website on Friday, the US embassy in Ankara said the US consulate-general in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, was reportedly a target and other locations in Turkey were also under threat.

US citizens were advised to exercise heightened caution in areas where Americans or foreigners may gather, including large office buildings or shopping malls, it said.

“The US mission in Turkey has received credible reports of potential terrorist attacks and kidnappings against US citizens and foreign nationals in Istanbul, including against the US consulate-general, as well as potentially other locations in Turkey,” the embassy said.

It also announced the temporary suspension of all citizen and visa services at its facilities in Turkey, including the US embassy in Ankara, consulate-general in Istanbul, the consulate in the southern province of Adana and the US consular agency in the western province of Izmir.

“Individuals with scheduled appointments will be notified by email with instructions on how to reschedule their appointments,” the embassy said.

US missions in Turkey have been attacked multiple times in recent years.

On February 1, 2013, a suicide bomber targeted the US embassy in Ankara, killing a security guard and wounding three others in an attack claimed by the far left-wing group DHKP-C.

On August 10, 2015, two suspected members of the same group attacked the US consulate-general in Istanbul. No one was hurt.

Turkey was hit by a string of attacks in 2015 and 2016 by several groups, including the armed group ISIL (ISIS).

On New Year’s Day 2017, a lone gunman killed 39 people in an attack at an Istanbul nightclub that was later claimed by ISIL. It was one of a series of attacks that killed dozens of people in Istanbul and elsewhere in Turkey.

Since the attack, Turkish authorities have cracked down on suspected ISIL members and Kurdish fighters, carrying out many security operations across the country and detaining hundreds of people.

Source: News Agencies