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Turkiye says Western states gave it no evidence to back up security threat reports

February 3, 2023 at 2:16 pm

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Tallinn, Estonia on February 01, 2023. [Murat Gök – Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye said, on Friday, that Western nations, including the United States and Germany, had not given it any information to back up their assertions that security threats had prompted them to close their missions in the country, Reuters reports.

Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, suggested the powers may have been trying to portray Turkiye 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 Turkiye is an unstable country which faces a terrorism threat, this act is not in line with our friendly and allied relationships.”

Last week, France, Germany, Italy, the United States and others issued warnings to their citizens of an increased risk of attacks in Turkiye, particularly against diplomatic missions and non-Muslim places of worship, in the wake of Quran-burning protests in Europe.

READ: Turkiye summons nine Western envoys over security alerts

This week, countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland temporarily closed diplomatic missions in Turkiye, saying it was for security reasons.

On Wednesday Turkiye summoned the ambassadors of nine Western countries to criticise the decision, as Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, said on Twitter the embassies were waging “a new psychological war” on his country.

“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 on Friday.

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 Turkiye to suspend negotiations meant to lift its objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO.

Turkiye 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.

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

READ: Allowing Quran burning in Sweden, Denmark threatens other religious groups: Rights defender