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Ankara Seeks Clarification over U.S. Decision to Remove Diplomats’ Families from Istanbul | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The U.S. Consulate remains open and fully staffed, and is unaffected by the warning (Reuters)

Ankara – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu sought clarification from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the latter’s decision to remove the families of U.S. consulate personnel in Istanbul due to security reasons.

Cavusoglu called his U.S. counterpart early on Sunday to discuss the State Department’s new travel warning, Turkish diplomatic sources said. They added that Kerry shared information with Cavusoglu on why such a decision has been taken, while the two foreign ministers also talked about ongoing joint anti-terror efforts.

The U.S. Department of State issued a new travel warning for the families of U.S. consulate personnel in Istanbul, ordering them to leave the country after it gathered “security information indicating extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to attack U.S. citizens in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent.”

“The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to southeast Turkey and carefully consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country”, the U.S. State Department said.

“Foreign and U.S. tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organizations in Turkey,” the statement added.

The decision does not affect the consulate’s personnel in Istanbul and is only applicable for family members based in Istanbul, the statement also said.

Meanwhile, a Turkish opposition lawmaker has been injured after unidentified assailants attacked him late Saturday in a restaurant in the city of Aydin in southwest Turkey.

Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported that the deputy leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Bulent Tezcan, was in a stable condition following the attack on his life. Tezcan was shot in the leg with a handgun, Anadolu said.
Turkish police officers later arrested Alp Arslan S., who confessed to have attacked the lawmaker.

Asked by reporters on the reason behind the attack, Arslan said, “These handcuffs are a medal of honor given to me by my state.”

The attack came two months after the CHP leader’s convoy was attacked by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists, on Aug. 25 in Artvin province. A member of the Turkish security forces was killed in the attack.