After the U.S. State Department urged its citizens to reconsider travel to Turkey, citing security concerns and arbitrary arrests, Ankara immediately acted in tit-for-tat retaliation and warned Turkish nationals against traveling to the U.S.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Chargé d’Affaires Philip Kosnett to relay its dismay after the State Department put Turkey under the third category. This is second summoning in almost less than one day, pointing to a downward spiral in worsening relations.
On Friday, the U.S. State Department introduced a new travel advisory for Americans traveling abroad. It urges the U.S. citizens reconsider travel — avoid travel due to serious risk when mulling to visit Level 3 countries, which includes Pakistan, Sudan, Venezuela, Russia and Guatemala along with Turkey.
“Under the current State of Emergency, security forces have detained individuals suspected of affiliation with alleged terrorist organizations based on scant or secret evidence and ground that appear to be politically motivated,” the advisory said. “U.S. citizens have also been subject to travel bans that prevent them from departing Turkey,” the State Department said in its warning.
Southeast Turkey where the Turkish security forces embroiled in a prolonged fight against outlawed Kurdish militants is also off-limits for the U.S. citizens and government employees.
The new travel warning system sparked a furious response from Turkey.
“It has been observed that there is a recent increase in terrorist and violent attacks in the U.S.,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Attacks by vehicles being driven on crowds, in addition to bomb and gun attacks, are likely to continue to target city centers, cultural events, subway stations, state buildings, places of worship and school campuses,” the ministry said. It also broached the risk of arbitrary arrest for Turkish citizens traveling to the U.S.