US embassy in Turkey to remain closed on Tuesday, police detains four for planning attack

Turkish police detained four Iraqi nationals on Monday on suspicion of planning an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara
Monday, 05 March 2018 18:10

The US Embassy in the Turkish capital of Ankara will remain closed on Tuesday due to a security threat, the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

"Embassy Ankara informs US citizens that the US Embassy in Ankara will be closed to the public on March 6, 2018 due to a security threat," the statement said on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, the Anadolu news agency reported that four members of the Islamic State terrorist group were arrested in Turkey for allegedly preparing an attack against the US embassy. Police detained four Iraqis residing in the Black Sea province of Samsun who had been preparing for an attack on the embassy, it said. 

Prosecutors in Ankara issued arrest warrants on Monday for 20 people as part of a probe into the terrorist group Islamic State, according to a security source. In raids across Ankara, counterterrorist units apprehended at least 12 of the wanted suspects, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media. Police conducted the operation as part of an investigation into an alleged terror attack plot on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the source added. 

The embassy first announced it would be closed on Monday because of the security threat. It advised U.S. citizens in Turkey to avoid large crowds, the embassy building, and to be aware of their own security when visiting tourist sites and crowded places.

"The decision to close the American embassy is not a political one, it was taken on security grounds. The embassy has shared intelligence with the Turkish intelligence service and security forces," Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, the government's main spokesman, told a news conference.

"Both the intelligence service and security forces have taken extra measures, and important results have been achieved," Bozdağ added.

The diplomatic mission in Ankara will continue to provide emergency services. Visa interviews have been cancelled, and routine services will resume when the embassy reopens, the statement said.