Turkey detains four over suspected plot against British, German missions
ANKARATurkish authorities have detained four people as part of an investigation into a potential threat against British and German diplomatic missions in the country but found no links to any terrorist groups, a Turkish official told Reuters on Sept. 16.
The investigation was prompted by intelligence about a potential Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) plot against the countries’ embassies, the official said.
“Four people were detained in relation to a potential act against the two embassies. Security remains at the highest level. We continue to cooperate closely and share information with the foreign missions,” the official said.
Three of the suspects were detained in the capital Ankara and the other was detained in Istanbul, state-run Anadolu Agency said.
Britain shut its embassy in Ankara on Sept. 16 for what its foreign office said were security reasons, without giving further details.
A spokesman for Germany’s foreign ministry confirmed its diplomatic offices were closed this week, citing both a four-day public holiday in Turkey and information, which he described as “not completely verifiable,” about a potential attack.
“We take such leads seriously,” the spokesman told reporters at a regular news conference in Berlin. “So we decided to keep our diplomatic missions and German schools in Turkey closed this week. It was a precautionary measure.”
He said the government would make a decision after the weekend on whether the missions would reopen on Sept. 19.
Separately, state-run Anadolu Agency said police have detained 24 foreign nationals suspected of planning an attack in Istanbul for ISIL.
The agency said police raided a location where a Syrian national identified as Azzov K. was staying following a tip-off about a planned attack.
Police found 23 other men at the same location in Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece neighborhood, which abuts the city’s main Ataturk airport.
Police said Azzov K. allegedly purchased explosives and ammunition to be used in the attacks.
Authorities said of the 24 suspects in custody, nine were in leadership positions while 15 had arrived in Turkey from abroad to cross into Syria.
Turkey has suffered a series of suicide bombings and attacks by ISIL and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) over the past several months.