Turkey summons nine western envoys over security warnings

Turkey on Thursday summoned the ambassadors and top envoys of nine countries to condemn the mass closure of European consulates in Istanbul due to security concerns.

The United States and several European powers have advised citizens not to attend mass events and avoid tourist hotspots in central Istanbul because of a heightened terror threat.

At least seven European countries have closed their Istanbul consulates to the general public as a precaution.

The US consulate remains open because it is not in the city center and less vulnerable to a terror attack.

The security warnings came during a spike in diplomatic tensions linked to Turkey’s refusal to let Sweden and Finland join the US-led NATO defense bloc.

These have been exacerbated by protests at which an anti-Islamic extremist burnt copies of the Koran in Stockholm and Copenhagen last month.

Turkish officials have voiced growing frustration with the Western security alerts.

Ankara issued a travel warning for the United States and Europe in seeming retaliation last weekend.

A Turkish diplomatic source said the nine ambassadors and senior representatives were summoned to discuss their decision to close the consulates without specifying the countries.

The source disclosed no other immediate details.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Thursday condemned the Western closures as an attempt to meddle in Turkey’s May 14 presidential and parliament election campaign.

“They are waging psychological war against Turkey,” Soylu told NTV television. “They are trying to destabilize Turkey.”

The chief spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party accused the West of making “irresponsible statements”.

“Some embassies and consulates are making statements to raise concerns about our country’s security conditions,” party spokesman Omer Celik tweeted.

“This type of irresponsible behavior is unacceptable.”

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