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Ankara lashes out at US envoy over security alerts: 'Get your filthy hands off Turkey'

Turkey’s rhetoric against Washington and several European capitals grows more belligerent, with the interior minister calling out the American ambassador.
A picture taken on Aug. 20, 2018, shows a general view of the US Embassy in Ankara.

Turkish ministers lashed out at the United States and several European countries on Friday amid a controversy over Western security alerts and the closure of diplomatic missions.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticized Western capitals for failing to share concrete information about the security threat that prompted Western security alerts and the closure of European diplomatic missions.

“If they want to paint Turkey as an unstable country, as a country where there is a terrorist threat, this does not fit friendship,” Cavusoglu told reporters, describing the security alerts and closures as “intentional.”

Earlier this week, the US Embassy in Ankara and several European diplomatic missions issued security warnings against potential “terrorist” attacks by jihadist groups targeting Westerners in response to Quran-burning protests across Europe over the past few weeks. Some of the European missions, foreign cultural centers and even foreign schools were closed down temporarily this week over the security threats.

On Thursday, Ankara conveyed displeasure over the temporary closures and security alerts, with the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoning ambassadors of the United States, Sweden, France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Ankara amped up the rhetoric on Friday with Cavusoglu lashing out at those countries for failing to share “concrete information” on details of the security threats cited in alerts. “What will happen when this turns into an attack? Do you only think about yourself?” he lamented. 

“There is no concrete information. … If there is such a threat, it must be eliminated before it turns into an actual attack.” 

Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, who accused the West of waging a “psychological war” against Ankara on Thursday, renewed his accusations today by singling out the United States. 

“I'm calling out to the American ambassador here,” he said. “Get your filthy hands off Turkey. We know very well what you have done … how you have attempted to stir up Turkey,” Soylu added, reiterating his frequent attacks on Washington.

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