US embassy says intelligence from Turkish gov’t prompted warning for citizens
ANKARAThe U.S. Embassy in Turkey has moved to calm mounting speculation about a warning to citizens before the March 13 attack on Ankara, noting that intelligence confirmed by the Turkish government prompted the embassy to advise American citizens to avoid central Ankara due to the threat of a terrorist attack.
The U.S. Embassy’s security message for U.S. citizens was posted on the official website of the embassy on March 11, two days before a suicide car bomb ripped through Kızılay Square in central Ankara on March 13, killing at least 37 people and wounding 125, in the latest deadly attack to hit Turkey.
“Last week, the U.S. Embassy became aware of threat information through a Turkish government warning circulating in social media. After confirming the warning with Turkish authorities, the embassy issued a notice to all American citizens in Ankara – both government employees and private citizens – and to Turkish employees of the U.S. Embassy, as we routinely do when we learn of Turkish government information about threats,” the embassy said in a statement posted on its official Twitter account late on March 13, announcing its statement as “In regards to Turkish media speculation about the U.S. Embassy’s notice to American citizens in Ankara, here are the facts.”
The March 13 attack is the third to strike Ankara in five months, in an area close to the prime minister’s office, parliament and foreign embassies, as Turkey grapples with twin security threats from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that there is information regarding a potential terrorist plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing located in the Bahçelievler area of Ankara. U.S. citizens should avoid this area. We advise U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings and local events, monitor local news stations for updates, and follow local authority instructions,” the U.S. Embassy had said in its warning message on March 11.