Turkey retaliates against U.S. travel warning in tit-for-tat diplomacy
Turkey and the U.S. have shifted their bilateral tensions from the visa crisis, which was resolved a short while ago after discussions, to a new platform: Travel warnings.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Jan. 12 urged its citizens to reconsider their U.S. travel plans and take precautions against possible threats they might face in the U.S. in retaliation to a similar move by Washington.
“We observe an increasing number of terror plots and acts of violence in the U.S.,” the ministry said in a statement.
It added that the attacks could take the form of vehicles ramming pedestrians, bomb attacks and armed terror attacks, and that these attacks might occur in city centers, cultural activity areas, metro stations, public buildings, prayer centers and even school campuses.
The U.S. has recently experienced attacks in Ohio University, Forth Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, Minnesota’s Dar Al-Farooq Mosque and a Texas church, with cars also ploughing into people in Charlottesville and New York. The latest was a bomb attack in the New York metro on Dec. 12.
The ministry said these attacks were carried out by far-right and racist groups, urging its citizens to take precautions during their travels.
Turkey’s move comes after the U.S. on Jan. 11 urged its citizens to reconsider travelling to Turkey “due to terrorism and arbitrary detentions.”
Turkey on Jan. 11 expressed its anger to the Ankara-based U.S. Chargé d’Affairs Philip Kosnett over the categorization of Turkey as a country with an “increased security risk” along with Sudan, Pakistan and Guatemala.
“These are not good things… Creating the perception that Turkey is an insecure country will harm Turkey-U.S. relations,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters on Jan. 12.
Ankara is more secure than Washington, the prime minister said.
“Closing the borders is not a solution, but more cooperation against global terrorism is required,” he stated.
The two NATO allies have seen their ties deteriorate since the 2016 coup attempt, which the Turkish government blames on U.S.-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen.