Security: UK and US governments issue updated Turkey advisories as of Jan. 7, warning of possible increased threat against Western institutions.

Severity: Warning Alert

  • Event: UK and US travel advisory updates
  • Location: Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Jan. 7

Summary
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and US Embassy in Ankara have issued updated travel advisories for Turkey as of Jan. 7, warning of a potential increased threat against Western institutions and personnel in the country following the Jan. 3 killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani by US forces.

Background and Analysis
There is generally a moderate threat from terrorism in Turkey, which stems from both transnational Islamist groups and Kurdish separatist groups; the threat is higher in the southeast and in provinces bordering Iraq and Syria. However, Iran has vowed to retaliate for Soleimani's killing, which could lead to further precautionary security measures around US and other Western facilities.

Demonstrations are also possible outside US diplomatic and NATO military facilities in the country in the coming weeks. Security forces could introduce security cordons and movement restrictions around well-attended events, which would have the potential to cause localized disruptions. While such protests will likely pass without incident, some violence is possible if crowds breach security cordons.

Other Western governments could issue similar advice and directives for nationals in the coming days.

Advice
Keep a low profile if visiting US-associated or high-profile Western facilities. Remain alert and report any suspicious activity or objects to the authorities. Avoid all demonstrations as a routine security precaution and to minimize the potential for disruptions. Where possible, avoid discussing the ongoing US-Iranian tensions in public or with strangers.

Resources
British Embassy in Turkey: www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-ankara
US Embassy in Turkey: tr.usembassy.gov

 

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