Shots Fired at US Embassy in Ankara, No Casualties
Gunshots were fired at the U.S. embassy in Ankara early on Monday, without causing any casualties, Turkish and American officials said as tensions spiked between the two NATO allies.
Six shots were fired at the embassy with three bullets hitting the iron gate and exterior wall, the Ankara governor’s office said, indicating there were “no casualties.”
Turkish police detained one suspect in connection with the attack, the state-run Anadolu news agency, without providing any details.
Speaking to AFP, spokesman David Gainer confirmed the embassy was investigating a “security incident”.
“We have no reports of any injuries and we are investigating the details,” he said, thanking the Turkish police for their “rapid response.”
A bullet mark could be clearly seen in the window of the security booth, an AFP journalist at the scene said.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu condemned it as a “provocative attack” in a posting on Twitter.
“We will make sure that this incident is investigated quickly and the perpetrators are brought to justice,” he said.
The Turkish foreign ministry said measures were taken to “ensure the security of the U.S. embassy in Ankara, other U.S. missions and their personnel” across the country.
The attack took place to the backdrop of a bitter diplomatic spat between Ankara and Washington, with presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also blasted the attack as an attempt to “create chaos.”
“Turkey is a safe country and all foreign missions are safeguarded by law,” he wrote on Twitter.
The highly-fortified embassy was also hit by a suicide bombing five years ago that killed a Turkish security guard and injured several other people. That attack was claimed by the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP-C), a radical Marxist group.
Statement by the U.S. Mission in Turkey – August 20, 2018 pic.twitter.com/XhW1FQwA8Q
— US Embassy Turkey (@USEmbassyTurkey) August 20, 2018
Sanctions Dispute Rankles
Ankara and Washington have been locked in an increasingly acrimonious diplomatic dispute over Turkey’s detention of an American pastor on terror-related charges.
U.S. President Donald Trump has doubled the tariffs on aluminum and steel tariffs from Turkey, prompting Ankara to impose similar measures on several U.S. products.
On Friday, Turkey threatened to respond in kind if Washington imposed further sanctions as a court rejected another appeal to free pastor Andrew Brunson.
The diplomatic stand-off has sent the Turkish currency into free fall against dollar although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to lead the country out of the crisis.
In a statement ahead of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha, Erdogan remained defiant over the U.S. sanctions.
“The attack aimed at our economy has no difference from an attack aimed at our call to prayer or flag,” he said.
Those who thought they could bring Turkey to its knees through the foreign currency exchange rate “will soon see they are mistaken,” Erdogan added.