Turkey: No evidence from Western nations after consulate closures

Turkey says Western nations, including the United States and Germany, have 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 on Friday suggested the countries may have been trying to portray Turkey as a volatile state when they temporarily shut embassies and consulates and issued travel warnings following Quran-burning incidents in Europe.

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

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

The German foreign ministry confirmed that its ambassador had been summoned by Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a news conference after meeting with his counterparts Russian Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian Dmytro Kuleba, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Antalya, Turkey March 10, 2022.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu [File: Murad Sezer/Reuters]

Earlier this week nine Western nations either closed down their consulates in Istanbul or issued travel warnings to citizens visiting Turkey, citing security threats.

The measures angered Turkey, which on Thursday summoned the countries’ ambassadors in protest. The interior minister accused the countries of waging “psychological warfare” and attempting to wreck Turkey’s tourism industry.

“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.

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

Turkey had already increased security measures around foreign embassies and consulates after Quran-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.

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

Article source: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/2/3/turkey-says-western-nations-gave-no-evidence-of-security-risks