The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned envoys from nine countries on Thursday over the simultaneous closure of diplomatic missions, state broadcaster TRT reported.
“Such simultaneous activities do not constitute a proportional or prudent approach,” the ministry told ambassadors from the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, France and Italy, according to diplomatic sources speaking to the TRT.
Turkey ensures security for all diplomatic missions in the country as per international treaties, the Foreign Ministry told the envoys.
“Such approaches only serve the insidious agenda of terrorist organisations,” the ministry said.
On the same day, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told reporters that the closures marked “the verge of launching a new psychological war in Turkey”, and accused Washington of “nurturing terrorist organisations”.
“We know who nurtures the terrorist organisation,” Soylu said, pointing to Syrian Kurdish groups that are only designated terrorist by Turkey. “America and the West have supported them with money, strategy, logistics and human resources for years, they have not given up on building a terrorist state there.”
The countries in question temporarily closed their Istanbul consulates and diplomatic missions last week, citing security concerns in the aftermath of several incidents in Europe where far-right groups set fire to and tore pages from Islam’s holy book Quran. Some have said there were “serious and specific” intelligence that foreign missions and non-Muslim places of worship could be targeted.
Turkish authorities have pointed to the Islamic State (ISIS) and al Qaeda for possible attacks in Europe and Turkey, saying “meticulous investigations” continue over incoming intelligence reports while simultaneously rejecting any actual risk.
A security warning issued by the US Embassy in Ankara on 27 January kicked off the current series of closures, with several European countries issuing similar warnings to their citizens in Turkey over possible terrorist attacks, particularly in Istanbul’s touristic centre Beyoğlu where most diplomatic missions are also located.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Ömer Çelik said the warnings were “irresponsible” and such irresponsibility was “unacceptable”.
“Turkey is a safe country,” Çelik continued. “Today, it is those places where anti-immigrant and anti-Islam political movements challenge democracies and our holy book Quran is attacked that could be called unsafe.”
In 2016, following an ISIS bombing in capital Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said there was “no reason why bombs exploding in Ankara would not explode in Brussels”.
“You never know when you will step on a landmine. But it is clear that this is the inevitable outcome,” Erdoğan said on 18 March. Four days later, on 22 March, three ISIS members committed suicide bombings in the Brussels airport and an immigrant neighbourhood of the EU capital.