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Turkey alerted its citizens on Saturday about “possible Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist attacks” in the United States and Europe after its Western allies cautioned their citizens in Turkey about possible terror attacks, a news report has claimed. The Turkish foreign ministry has recommended its citizens in the United States and European countries “act calmly in the face of possible xenophobic and racist harassment and attacks”.
In another suggestion, the ministry asked the citizens to “stay away from areas where demonstrations may intensify.”
Recent increases in “anti-Islam and racist acts” reflect the dangerous dimensions of religious intolerance and hatred in Europe, the ministry said.
Several embassies in Ankara, including those of the United States, Germany, France and Italy, released security alerts for their citizens in Turkey on Friday that flagged “possible retaliatory attacks by terrorists against places of worship.”
This followed recent Koran-burning incidents in Europe.
On January 28, Sweden’s foreign ministry warned Swedes in Turkey to avoid crowds and demonstrations.
The foreign ministry said on its advice page for Swedes abroad: “Swedes in Turkey are asked to stay updated on the development of events and to avoid large gatherings and demonstrations.
“Continued demonstrations can be expected outside the embassy in Ankara and the consulate general in Istanbul in the coming days.”
Sweden and Finland applied last year to join NATO following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but all 30 member states must approve their bids.
Finland and Sweden signed a three-way agreement with Turkey in 2022 aimed at overcoming Ankara’s objections to their membership of NATO.
Sweden says it has fulfilled its part of the memorandum but Turkey is demanding more, including extradition of 130 people it deems to be terrorists.
After Paludan’s protests, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sweden should not expect Turkey’s support for its NATO membership.
Meanwhile, three Western embassies on January 27 warned their citizens against possible terror attacks in Turkey especially in places of worship.
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The warnings of the US French and German embassies came after the far-right anti-immigrant politician Rasmus Paludan burned copies of the Quran in Sweden and Denmark to protest against Turkey and Sweden’s bid to join NATO.
The US Embassy said: “In the wake of recent Quran-burning incidents in Europe, the US government cautions its citizens of possible retaliatory attacks by terrorists against places of worship in Türkiye.
“Terrorists could attack with little or no warning, targeting places of worship or places Westerners frequent.
“As the security alert issued by the US Embassy in Ankara on Jan. 27, 2023 reminds, the risk of terrorist attacks in Turkey is already high.”
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