The threat of terrorism has returned to haunt France and its interests around the world. It has made French citizens at home and abroad face the fact that they must “coexist” with terrorist threats. According to information available in the French capital, these serious threats have not stopped since last year when two major terrorist attacks took place. The first attack was the Charlie Hebdo shooting that took place at the beginning of the year, and the second was the Paris bombings that targeted the Bataclan theatre and cafes and restaurants in eastern Paris that left 130 people dead and 350 wounded.
Yesterday, the terrorist threat moved from France to Turkey where the French government was forced to “indefinitely” close its missions in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir (the three largest cities in Turkey) because of “serious” threats. The French consul to Istanbul Muriel Domenach sent an email to French citizens who are currently in Turkey and mentioned “information confirming the existence of a serious terrorist threat against French National Day celebrations in Turkey”.
The embassy said in a statement “In this atmosphere and in accordance with the principle of precaution, we have made the decision to cancel the celebrations that were supposed to take place this evening (yesterday) in Istanbul and tomorrow (today) in Ankara and Izmir” and “We have informed the Turkish authorities of this decision and remain in close contact with them.” The embassy also announced that “The Embassy of France in Ankara, as well as the Consulate-General in Istanbul, will be closed from Wednesday July 13, 1pm (10:00 GMT), until further notice”.
The fact that this is an unprecedented measure reflects the seriousness of the threats and Paris’s desire to take all measures to avoid exposing its citizens and its interests to terrorist acts. Other countries such as the United States and Germany have preceded France in this regard and closed their diplomatic missions due to security reasons in the past.
Turkey has suffered from bloody terrorist attacks in recent months. The most recent of these was a bloody suicide attack that targeted Istanbul airport on the 28th of June and left 47 dead and dozens wounded. The Turkish government said that ISIS was responsible for the attack, and the authorities have charged 37 people for involvement in the attack. These include citizens of Russia, central Asian republics, Egypt and North African countries.