Suspicious powder sent to consulates tests negative for biological agents
AFAD teams are seen behind a security perimeter at the German Consulate in Istanbul, Oct. 24, after the discovery of an envelope containing yellow powder. AA PhotoMore envelopes containing a suspicious powder were found at Ankara’s main courthouse and the Hungarian Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 27, as officials said analyses of the substances sent to five foreign consulates on Oct. 24 came back as negative for biological agents.
Biological and chemical experts from Turkey’s disaster management agency AFAD were dispatched to the Ankara courthouse and Hungarian consulate to decontaminate the sites. Six workers from the Hungarian consulate who were also transferred to the hospital.
Twenty-five people, including five foreigners, who had been under quarantine since Oct. 24 after having been exposed to the yellow substance at the German, Canadian and Belgian consulates in Istanbul, were discharged, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry also stated that the samples were tested for several biological agents, including anthrax plague, tularemia, risin and botulism, and all results came back negative. “Other tests and chemical analyses for other biological war agents will be concluded late Oct. 27,” the statement read.
For his part, Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu told Hürriyet on Oct. 27 that the powder will be considered as “inoffensive” if further tests come back negative.
The Istanbul Governor’s Office said the envelope discovered at the Hungarian consulate was similar to the envelopes found at the other consulates and was also sent on Oct. 24.
Hungarian consulate workers could also be released in two days if tests prove the substance’s link with the powder samples already analyzed, officials said.
Canada closed its consulate in Istanbul as a precaution on Oct. 27. Both the U.S. and French consulates were also searched for anything suspicious after the packages triggered alarm at the foreign missions Oct. 24.