Turkey Warns Its Citizens Against US Travel Over Security

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In response to a travel warning by the US government to Turkey, Ankara has warned its citizens against traveling to the United States. On Wednesday, the US State Department had issued a travel advisory for its citizens asking them to refrain from travelling to Turkey. The US placed Turkey in “increased security risk” list along with Sudan, Pakistan and Guatemala.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Friday that Turks travelling to the USA would be at risk of terrorist attacks and “arbitrary arrests,” which could also hit state officials on business trips.

“It has been observed that there is a recent increase in terrorist and violent attacks in the US,” the foreign ministry said, referring to several deadly incidents over the past few months.

“Attacks by vehicles being driven on crowds, in addition to bomb and gun attacks, are likely to continue to target city centers, cultural events, subway stations, state buildings, places of worship and school campuses,” the statement continued.

The US advisory calls for rethinking travel to Turkey “for terrorism and arbitrary arrests”. In particular, trips to the Turkish-Syrian border area and southeastern Turkey, where the security forces regularly engage in battles with the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), should be reconsidered.

Turkey and the US had settled their visa crisis at the end of December. Following the arrest of local US Consulate staff, US officials in Turkey had reported stopping visa issuance to American citizens. The Turkish Foreign Ministry then announced in an almost identical statement that the visa allocation to Turkish representations would also be stopped. The relations between the NATO allies USA and Turkey are currently very tense.

According to US travel advisory, the world’s most dangerous countries to travel include Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.