Several Western countries including France, Germany and the United States called on their nationals in Turkey on Friday to show "vigilance" in the face of the risk of attacks, in retaliation for the copies of the Koran burned in Sweden and Denmark during anti-Turkish protests.
"In light of the recent incidents of burning Qurans in Europe, the US Government is warning its citizens of possible terrorist attacks targeting places of worship as a retaliatory measure in Turkey," said the US Embassy in Ankara.
"Terrorists could attack without warning and target places of worship frequented by Westerners," she said.
“Exercise maximum vigilance”
At the same time, the French representation in Ankara sent a similar message by email and via its website to its nationals present in the country, referring to the alert from the United States.
“As the risk of a terrorist attack in Turkey remains high, as recalled by the security alert issued by the United States Embassy on January 27, 2023, French people residing or passing through Turkey are called upon to exercise maximum vigilance, especially in gathering places likely to be frequented by foreign nationals, including places of worship,” she said.
Germany and Italy have also warned their nationals.
NATO membership at stake
Several demonstrations took place last week in Stockholm and on Friday in Copenhagen, during which copies of the Koran, the holy book of Muslims, were burned by an extremist who claimed to be protesting against Turkey's veto at the entrance to the Sweden in NATO.
Since May, Ankara has blocked the expansion of the Atlantic Alliance to this country, as well as to Finland, demanding that Stockholm extradite Kurdish refugees whom it considers to be "terrorists".
These incidents have been denounced and condemned by the governments concerned and by Western capitals, notably Washington.
But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that Sweden can no longer count on Turkey's "support" to join NATO and negotiations are officially suspended.