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Turkish President Erdogan says Western missions will “pay” for closures

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By Azra Ceylan

ISTANBUL (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Western missions would “pay” for issuing security alerts and temporarily closing consulates in Turkey last week, while police said there was no serious threat to foreigners after arresting 15 Islamic State suspects on Sunday.

Ankara summoned the ambassadors of nine countries on Thursday to criticize their decisions to temporarily close diplomatic missions and raise security alarms. Turkish officials said the following day that Western nations, including the United States and Germany, had not shared information to support their claims of a security threat.

“Our foreign ministry summoned them all the other day and gave the necessary ultimatum, telling them ‘You will pay heavily if you continue like this,'” Erdogan said during a youth meeting that was pre-recorded and broadcast on Sunday.

In parallel with the closures, several Western states have warned citizens of a heightened risk of attacks on diplomatic missions and non-Muslim places of worship in Turkey, following a series of far-right protests in Europe in recent weeks that have included several incidents of burning of copies of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Turkey suspended negotiations for Sweden and Finland to join NATO last month following a protest in Stockholm during which a copy of the Koran was burned.

Erdogan said Western states were “playing each other for (more) time” and that the “necessary decisions” would be made at Monday’s cabinet meeting, without elaboration.


On Sunday, police said they had found no evidence of any concrete threat to foreigners in the detentions of 15 Islamic State suspects accused of targeting non-Muslim consulates and places of worship, state media reported.

The Anadolu Agency quoted a statement from the Istanbul police saying the suspects had “received instructions for acts against the consulates of Sweden and the Netherlands, as well as Christian and Jewish places of worship”.

While the suspects’ ties to the jihadist group have been confirmed, no concrete threats against the foreigners have been found, the statement said.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated on Saturday Turkey’s frustration with what he says is Sweden’s inaction with entities Ankara accuses of terrorist activity. All 30 NATO members must ratify newcomers.

Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed a deal in June aimed at overcoming Ankara’s objections to their NATO bids, with the Nordic states pledging to take a tougher line mainly against local members of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984.

(Editing by Jonathan Spicer, Elaine Hardcastle and Frances Kerry)