Turkish police warn of possible attacks on Easter
Riot police secure the area as representatives of foreign missions march in İstiklal Avenue during a protest against March 19's suicide bombing. Reuters photo
Police in Turkey have warned of possible Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacks against Christians and Jews over the Easter weekend, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on March 26.
The police issued a nationwide alert warning of possible attacks targeting churches during Easter on March 27, as well as synagogues, according to the news agency.
The security alert came after the latest suicide attack by ISIL last weekend that killed three Israelis and an Iranian in Istanbul’s busy İstiklal Avenue.
ISIL has been blamed for four of the six bombings that have rocked Turkey in the past eight months, including a double suicide attack at a peace rally in the capital Ankara in October that left 103 people dead.
An affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claimed the other two attacks.
The police have warned that ISIL members may have scouted out places of worship as well as consulates and embassies, saying that churches and synagogues especially in Ankara, as well as foundations belonging to non-Muslims should be on their guard.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 26 released an Easter message to mark the Christian feast.
“We believe that not being exposed to religious, linguistic and ethnic discrimination, and being able to freely pursue one's own culture, tradition and beliefs - today, as in the past - are fundamental human rights,” Erdoğan said in a statement.