Türkiye: West gave no evidence to back up security threat reports

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gives a press following his meeting with his Thai counterpart in Ankara, on Jan 26, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)

ANKARA – Türkiye said on Friday that Western nations, including the United States and Germany, had not given it any information to back up their assertions that security threats had prompted them to close their missions in the country.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu suggested the powers may have been trying to portray Türkiye as a volatile state when they temporarily shut embassies and consulates and issued travel warnings following Koran-burning incidents in Europe.

"We see the closures of consulates without sharing the details of the information with us as intentional," Cavusoglu told reporters.

Last week, France, Germany, Italy, the United States and others issued warnings to their citizens of an increased risk of attacks in Türkiye

"If they want to give the impression that Türkiye is an unstable country which faces a terrorism threat, this act is not in line with our friendly and allied relationships."

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Last week, France, Germany, Italy, the United States and others issued warnings to their citizens of an increased risk of attacks in Türkiye, particularly against diplomatic missions and non-Muslim places of worship, in the wake of Koran-burning protests in Europe.

This week, countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland temporarily closed diplomatic missions in Türkiye, saying it was for security reasons.

On Wednesday, Türkiye summoned the ambassadors of nine Western countries to criticize the decision, as interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, said on Twitter the embassies were waging "a new psychological war" on his country.

"They say there is a terror threat… But when we ask what the source of information was and who the perpetrators of such attacks might be, they did not share any information with our intelligence and security authorities," Cavusoglu said on Friday.

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Over the last month, far-right activists burned copies of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, acts that prompted Türkiye to suspend negotiations meant to lift its objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO.

Türkiye had already increased security measures around foreign embassies and consulates after Koran-burning incidents, Cavusoglu said.

"But we see that some countries that have nothing to do with these incidents also shut their consulates. We have the information that some countries asked others to shut their consulates," he said.

Türkiye would take "some additional steps" in case these countries shut their diplomatic missions again without sharing information with Türkiye, Cavusoglu also said.