ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The US Consulate General in Istanbul warned Americans of a “potential terrorist threat” in the city’s central business district of Sisli, urging caution in a late Friday security message.
The Consulate’s warning on its website was based on a heightened Turkish security presence in Sisli’s Mecidiyekoy neighborhood, “especially in the vicinity of Sisli Agaoglu Street” which it said was in response to a possible terrorist threat.
On Saturday, a spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the American Consulate did not issue the warning on the grounds of any “concrete intelligence,” but ordinary security measures.
“At this time, the Consulate General does not have additional information regarding specifics about this threat,” read the US message.
“Americans residing in the area should exercise heightened caution,” reminding to avoid large crowds, locations where Westerners, tourists, and expatriates frequent, including restaurants, commercial centers, places of worship, and transportation hubs.
According to a count by the Associated Press, the US Embassy in Ankara and consulates in other Turkish cities issued at least 22 such security messages this year.
Turkey has witnessed over a dozen attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Previously, in October 2016, the US State Department ordered a temporary evacuation of diplomatic employees’ families posted to the Consulate General in Istanbul.
The Consulate warned of “extremist groups’ aggressive efforts to attack, kidnap or assassinate US citizens.”
A travel warning cautioning Americans from going to a dozen Kurdish provinces and the border with Syria, where a now six-year-long civil war rages, remains.
The country has been under an extended state of emergency since a bloody military coup attempt against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took place last year.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany