At least five European countries have closed their consulates in Turkey and canceled visa and passport appointments due to fears of terrorist threats following protests against recent public Koran burnings in Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark by far-right groups. The list of countries calling for staying away from dangerous places in the republic was provided by Schengenvisainfo.
According to the call of the European authorities, crowds in large cities, primarily in Istanbul, should be avoided. We are talking about the Beyoglu district and Taksim Square.
Which countries have joined the “psychological pressure”?
The UK was one of the first European countries to close its consulates in Turkey. The country's Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also updated its travel advisory for the Republic of Turkey, warning its citizens of the risks involved when traveling to this popular British destination. “There is a possibility that citizens of Western countries could be targeted or victims of attacks, especially in large cities,” the UK Foreign Office previously warned.
The German consulate in Turkey ceased operations on the same day, also canceling visa and passport appointments. Their reopening date remains open. At the same time, the German embassy in Ankara continues to receive Germans. “Following recent incidents in several European capitals where the Quran was publicly burned or destroyed, the security services believe that the risk of terrorist attacks in Istanbul has increased,” the officials justifying their decision said in a statement.
The agency also advised German citizens living in the republic and German tourists to avoid these days the central district of Istanbul Beyoglu and Taksim Square, as well as areas where “international crowds” gather.
The consulates of Sweden and the Netherlands have also stopped receiving visitors due to the same concerns. On the other hand, the French Consulate General in Istanbul has warned that it will be closed to the public for two consecutive working days, Thursday and Friday, although it is not clear if they will open their doors again on Monday.
In a video message posted on his official social media account, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Western countries have launched a new psychological war against Turkey. “We all know very well that their goal is to cloud stability and peace in Turkey,” he said, adding that embassies and consulates were closed on the same day that Turkey announced that it had received $46 billion in tourism revenue.
Recall, on January 30, the Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs also issued a travel warning for citizens of the republic, urging them to refrain from traveling to these countries, citing anti-Muslim and anti-Turkish activities and noting that “possible Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist attacks” could occur. The recommendation was issued after far-right radical Rasmus Paludan, who has dual Danish-Swedish citizenship, burned the holy book of Islam in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on January 21. In this regard, the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, threatened the Quran, who burned it three times, that “he will find the punishment that he so zealously seeks.”
Note that the authorities of a number of European countries stopped further provocations with the burning of the holy book of Islam this week at the Turkish embassies. This was done in Norway, where they said that despite the legality of the actions, the demonstration was banned for security reasons. The Finnish police did the same. Local law enforcement officers learned about the planned demonstration with the burning of the Koran in Helsinki and were able to prevent the destruction of the holy book of Muslims.
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