US updates travel warning to Turkey’s southeast

US updates travel warning to Turkey’s southeast

US updates travel warning to Turkey’s southeast

AFP photo

The U.S. Department of State has issued an update to its travel warning, urging its citizens to avoid travel to Turkey’s southeastern provinces amid “increased threats from terrorist groups” throughout the country, which also prompted the U.S. to not send its NASA representatives to a space research conference in Istanbul.

The warning urged U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the southeastern provinces particularly near the Syrian border and to stay award from large crowds, political gatherings and popular tourist destinations.

“Foreign and U.S. tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organizations. As stated in the Worldwide Caution dated March 3, 2016, throughout Europe extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, aviation services, transportation systems and public venues where people congregate as well as religious sites and high-profile events. U.S. citizens are reminded to review personal security plans and remain vigilant at all times. U.S. Government personnel in Turkey remain subject to travel restrictions in the southeastern provinces of Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Şırnak, Diyarbakır, Van, Siirt, Muş, Mardin, Batman, Bingöl, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis and Elaziğ. U.S. citizens should avoid areas in close proximity to the Syrian border,” the updated notice read.

According to the notice, the Department of State extended its March 29 ordered departure of family members of U.S. government personnel posted to the U.S. Consulate in the southern province of Adana and family members of U.S. government civilians in the western province of İzmir through July 26.

U.S. Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism Justin Siberell said on June 2 that the total number of terrorist attacks in 2015 decreased by 13 percent compared to the previous year, while some countries, including Turkey, experienced increased terror attacks throughout the past year, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2015 Country Reports on Terrorism.

The update to the U.S.’ notice came three days after NASA said it would not sponsor its representatives to attend the committee on space research (COSPAR) conference to be held between July 30 and Aug. 7 in Istanbul, citing the country’s travel warning issued on Turkey.