US State Department Orders Evacuation Of Istanbul Staff And Family, Warns Of Increased Terrorist Threat


US citizens should avoid travel to southeast Turkey and carefully consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country, the US State Department said Saturday in an updated Travel Warning to reflect the decision to order the departure of family members of employees posted to the US Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey.

The State Department said it made this decision based on security information indicating extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to attack US citizens in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent.

The Consulate General remains open and fully staffed.

The Department of State said this order applies only to the US Consulate General in Istanbul, not to other US diplomatic posts in Turkey.

“The Department continues to monitor the effect of these developments on the overall security situation in the country,” the State Department said.

In the Travel Warning, the State Department noted that, “The Governor of Ankara, acting under the authority of the recently-extended state of emergency, and on the basis of reported terrorist threats against cities in Turkey, has banned all demonstrations in Ankara province until November 30.”

The State Department said it continues to monitor the effects of the ongoing state of emergency; recent terrorist incidents in Ankara, Istanbul, Gaziantep, and throughout the Southeast; recurring threats; visible increases in police or military activities; and the potential for restrictions on movement as they relate to the safety and well-being of US citizens in Turkey. Delays or denial of consular access to US citizens detained or arrested by security forces, some of whom also possess Turkish citizenship, continue, the State Department added.

According to the State Department, foreign and US tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organizations in Turkey.

“In the past year, extremists have carried out attacks in France, Belgium, Germany, Mali, Bangladesh, Tunisia, and Turkey. Additional attacks in Turkey at major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers, places of worship, and transportation hubs, including aviation services, metros, buses, bridges, bus terminals and sea transport, could occur. Extremists have also threatened to kidnap and assassinate Westerners and US citizens. US citizens are reminded to review personal security plans, monitor local news for breaking events, and remain vigilant at all times,” the State Department warned.

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