(Photo Credit : Sedat Suna/EPA)
The governments of Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands closed down their consulates in Istanbul, Turkiye, this week after the US State Department issued an “immediate” terror threat on 30 January.
The warnings were issued in response to recent Quran burnings in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark.
“The German Consulate General will remain closed today, February 1, for security reasons,” the German consulate posted on its Instagram page.
Meanwhile, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated the terror alert on its page, saying, “There is a potential that citizens from Western countries may be targets or caught up in attacks, particularly in the major cities.”
On Monday, the US State Department warned of an “imminent” terror threat targeting western states’ synagogues, churches, and diplomatic missions.
The US mission in Turkiye warned its citizen to avoid the Beyoglu, Galata, Taksim, and Istiklal areas of Istanbul.
In response to the Quran burning in Sweden on 21 January, the Turkish government canceled a planned visit by the Swedish Minister of Defense’s visit to Ankara.
“Defense Minister Jonson’s visit to Turkiye on January 27 is neither important nor meaningful. That is why we canceled the visit,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said.
Press Release Regarding the Burning of the Holy Quran in Sweden https://t.co/zKDfN1FiEu pic.twitter.com/wzAb79jlfw
— Turkish MFA (@MFATurkiye) January 21, 2023
On 13 January, Turkish authorities opened an inquiry into the recent incident in Sweden, with Turkish media claiming the act could affect Ankara’s approval of Sweden’s bid to join NATO.
Nevertheless, Swedish prosecutor Lucas Eriksson legally determined that the activity was not punishable under Swedish law.
Meanwhile, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson called the act “extremely serious” and an attempt to sabotage the nation’s NATO application.
Finland’s foreign minister went as far as to claim that Russia might have been behind the incident to sabotage the Nordic countries’ NATO membership bid.