France shuts missions in Turkey after threat

2016-07-13 21:47
A  general view of the French Consulate in Istanbul after France closed the building over security threats. (Ozan Kose, AFP)

A general view of the French Consulate in Istanbul after France closed the building over security threats. (Ozan Kose, AFP)

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Istanbul - France on Wednesday said it had closed its embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara and its consulate in Istanbul until further notice, after cancelling events to mark the July 14 Bastille Day holiday due to a "real and concrete" security threat.

The sudden closures of the missions came with Turkey on edge after the triple suicide attack last month on Istanbul's main airport which was blamed on ISIS jihadists.

The doors of its premises were shut with a sign in French and Turkish saying the mission was closed for security reasons. Armed police patrolled outside.

New alarm

France's consulate in Istanbul, its embassy in Ankara and its mission in the Aegean city of Izmir were all to have held celebrations marking the July 14 French national day.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he had personally taken the decision to cancel the receptions in Turkey after receiving information about a "real and concrete threat".

Earlier, the Istanbul consulate sent an email message to French citizens in Turkey saying there had been "concurring information of a serious threat against the organisation of the July 14 celebrations in Turkey".

The June 28 attack on Ataturk International Airport raised new alarm over the security of foreigners in Turkey after a spate of attacks this year blamed on jihadists and Kurdish militants.

Security threat

Thirty-seven suspects have been placed under arrest over suspicion of involvement in the attacks and belonging to ISIS. Of these, 15 are Turks and 22 foreigners, according to official media.

Authorities have said a number of citizens of ex-Soviet republics are among the suspects, raising concerns over the threat to Turkey from Islamist militancy in the Central Asia and the Northern Caucasus.

But of seven suspects arrested earlier this week, three are Algerian, two Tunisian and two Egyptian, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

Several foreign missions in Turkey, including the embassies and consulates of Germany and the United States, have closed for short periods this year due to a security threat.

Read more on:    turkey  |  france

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