US Embassy warns citizens of terror threat in Turkey on May 19
ANKARAThe U.S. Embassy in Ankara has warned its citizens of threats by international and local terrorist groups in Turkey on May 19, national Youth and Sports Day, amid reports of possible attacks targeting metropolitan areas.
“The U.S. Embassy is aware of media reports suggesting the possibility of terrorist incidents in Turkey on Thursday, May 19, Ataturk Memorial, Youth and Sports Day. Foreign and U.S. tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organizations in Turkey and the possibility of a terrorist incident without warning remains a concern. Therefore, the U.S. Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to read the existing Turkey Travel Warning and Security Messages to ensure you are following best practices for personal safety,” the Embassy said in a statement issued on its website.
It also urged citizens to monitor the media for developments linked to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) upcoming extraordinary congress, which will be held in Ankara on May 22.
“U.S. Embassy Ankara also informs U.S. citizens that the AK Party will be holding a congress on May 22, 2016 at the Ankara Arena located near Gençlik Park and Ulus Metro. The congress will begin at 10:00 AM and last throughout the day. We remind citizens to monitor the media for any developments related to disturbances or demonstrations associated with the congress. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence,” the Embassy said.
A U.S. Embassy official on May 18 explained to the Hürriyet Daily News that the warning issued for U.S. citizens in Turkey came after the Turkish media reported about security threats upon the information taken by the national police.
“We at the U.S. Embassy take seriously our responsibility to keep U.S. citizens informed about potential threats and about rallies and other events that may attract large crowds. Over the last few days there have been Turkish media reports regarding [Turkish police]-sourced information about security threats around the May 19 holiday. For the benefit of U.S. citizens that may not have access to Turkish media, we referenced these news reports in our May 17 notice,” the official said.
Turkish police had previously sent a “confidential” document to provincial security directorates requesting additional security measures against possible attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that are said to be planned against security authorities on May 19.