Çavuşoğlu, Kerry discuss US decision to remove families of diplomats from Istanbul
REUTERS photoTurkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke on the phone with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the latter’s decision to remove the families of U.S. consulate personnel in Istanbul due to security reasons.
Çavuşoğlu called his U.S. counterpart early on Oct. 30 to discuss the State Department’s new travel warning, Turkish diplomatic sources said. They added that Kerry shared information with Çavuşoğlu on why such a decision has been taken, while the two foreign ministers also talked about ongoing joint anti-terror efforts.
The U.S. decision to remove families of Istanbul-based diplomats has been taken upon intelligence on a potential attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is under pressure due to the Mosul and upcoming Raqqa operations in Iraq and Syria, sources said. The U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition launched a major offensive in both countries to ultimately defeat the jihadist group that has dominated the region since 2014.
The U.S. Department of State issued a new travel warning for the families of U.S. consulate personnel in Istanbul late on Oct. 30, ordering them to leave the country after it gathered “security information indicating extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to attack U.S. citizens in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent.”
The decision does not affect the consulate’s personnel in Istanbul and is only applicable for family members based in Istanbul.
In an earlier security warning, Washington urged its citizens to refrain from participating in Oct. 29 Republic Day celebrations throughout Turkey, citing the government’s ban on public marches and warning that such involvement in the celebrations could lead to citizens’ detention.