Turkey detains four Isis members over suspected US embassy threat in Ankara

No details about the threat have been released as yet 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Monday 05 March 2018 17:07
Policemen stand guard outside the US embassy in Ankara, on 5 March 2018, as part of security measures set after the embassy was closed to the public over a 'security threat'.
Policemen stand guard outside the US embassy in Ankara, on 5 March 2018, as part of security measures set after the embassy was closed to the public over a 'security threat'.

Turkey has detained four members of Isis suspected threatening an attack on the US embassy in Ankara.

The building had been closed earlier today over concerns about the possible attack and a security alert did not give details on the threat, but said for US citizens to “heighten your personal security posture and awareness if you choose to visit popular tourist sites, shopping malls, shopping districts, and sports and entertainment venues”.

The state-run Anadolu Agency reported that police obtained the four Iraqi nationals in or near the city Samsun.

“The Embassy will announce its reopening, once it resumes services” and told Americans in the region to “keep a low profile,” a statement said.

The embassy also said it would only handle emergency functions until further notice. “Routine services, such as passport renewals including lost or stolen passports, reports of birth abroad, and notarial services, are not considered emergencies,” the alert said.

The same embassy was victim to a suicide bombing in 2013, claimed by the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, a far-left group.

The threat comes at a time when US-Turkey relations have soured over the issue of Syria - Meghan Bodette, the Outreach Director for Washington DC-based charity Kurdistan Aid, told The Independent it “is complicated as ever”.

Explosions as Turkey confirms airstrikes on Afrin, Syria

The problems stem mostly from the US decision to provide weapons to Kurdish fighters in the region, part of the opposition Syrian forces who are trying to combat Isis.

Turkey sees Kurdish fighters as associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK, which has opposed the Turkish government for decades.

Turkey recently launched an attack on the northern Syrian city of Afrin, targeting Kurdish groups just after the US said it would work with the fighters in the effort to defeat Isis.

The US called the attack a setback to the fight against Isis and the State Department said that it considered the latest United Nations-imposed ceasefire to cover any Turkish possible attacks.

Ms Bodette said “Turkey’s operation there...has already killed over 200 civilians and displaced thousands” of Syrian Kurds.

However, the US has not offered the “same security guarantees” to Afrin as it has to Kurdish fighters further east of the Euphrates river, resulting in “reduced trust between the US and Syria’s Kurds,” she noted.

The relationship between the US and Turkey could further fracture as the conflict drags on.

Isis has been essentially reduced to a few pockets in Deir Ezzor, Syria, and should the historic relationship between Kurds and the US continue, Washington's hand could be forced into picking sides between Tukrish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and supporting Kurdish fighters aiding in the defeat of Isis, predicted Ms Bodette.

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