Turkey said Friday that Western countries, including the US and Germany, have not provided it with any information to support their claims that security threats have forced them to close their offices in the country.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu suggested that the states may have been trying to portray Turkey as an unstable state when they temporarily closed embassies and consulates and issued travel warnings following the Koran-burning incidents in Europe.
“We view the closing of consulates without providing us with detailed information as intentional,” Cavusoglu told reporters. “If they want to give the impression that Turkey is an unstable country that is facing a terrorist threat, then this act is not in line with our friendly and allied relations.”
Last week, France, Germany, Italy, the US and other countries issued warnings to their citizens about the increased risk of attacks in Turkey, especially on diplomatic missions and non-Muslim places of worship, in connection with protests against the burning of the Koran in Europe. This week, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland temporarily closed their diplomatic missions in Turkey, saying it was for security reasons.
On Wednesday, Turkey summoned ambassadors from nine Western countries to criticize the decision, with Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu tweeting that Western embassies are waging a “new psychological war” against his country. “They say there is a terrorist threat… But when we ask what is the source of the information and who might be the perpetrator of such attacks, they have not shared any information with our intelligence and security agencies,” Cavusoglu said on Friday.
Over the past month, far-right activists have burned copies of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. These actions forced Turkey to suspend negotiations aimed at overcoming its objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO.
Turkey has already stepped up security measures around foreign embassies and consulates following the Koran-burning incidents, Cavusoglu said. “But we see that some countries that have nothing to do with these incidents have also closed their consulates. We have information that some countries have asked others to close their consulates,” he said. Turkey will take “some additional steps” if these countries again close their diplomatic missions without sharing information with Turkey, Cavusoglu said.
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