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Germany Shuts Diplomatic Facilities in Turkey

  • VOA News

A police officer stands guard in front of the German Consulate, which is closed on indications of a possible imminent attack, in Istanbul, Turkey, March 17, 2016.

A police officer stands guard in front of the German Consulate, which is closed on indications of a possible imminent attack, in Istanbul, Turkey, March 17, 2016.

German diplomatic missions and schools were closed in Turkey Thursday for security reasons.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that security services received credible information about an imminent attack that forced the closing of the embassy in Ankara, the general consulate in Istanbul and German schools in both cities.

"Yesterday evening, our security authorities received several concrete and very serious leads that terror attacks against our German representations in Turkey were being prepared," he said. "Therefore I decided that the German embassy in Ankara, the general consulate in Istanbul and the German schools in both cities should remain closed."

The measure was necessary as a precaution to protect German citizens, Steinmeier said, adding that Germany is trying “to collect more information about the development of the security situation in Turkey."

Steinmeier expressed appreciation for Turkish police cooperation under current circumstances.

An armored police vehicle waits in front of the German Consulate, which is closed on indications of a possible imminent attack, in Istanbul, Turkey March 17, 2016.

An armored police vehicle waits in front of the German Consulate, which is closed on indications of a possible imminent attack, in Istanbul, Turkey March 17, 2016.

Warning

The Foreign Ministry is urging German citizens to avoid the diplomatic buildings in Turkey and observe travel advice in the coming days.

"[It was] a precautionary measure while we try to collect more information about the development of the security situation in Turkey," said Steinmeier. The foreign ministry is currently holding a crisis meeting. We ask German citizens to carefully observe travel advice in the coming days. Thank you."

The announcement was made as a Kurdish militant group with links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, claimed responsibility Thursday for Sunday's suicide car bombing in Ankara that killed 37 people.

Damaged vehicles are seen at the scene of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, March 13, 2016.

Damaged vehicles are seen at the scene of an explosion in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, March 13, 2016.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, or TAK, said in a statement on its website that the attack in the Turkish capital was aimed at those responsible for security operations in southeastern Turkey, and warned the group would strike again.

Since July, Turkish forces have been carrying out military operations against the PKK in both southeastern Turkey and across the border in northern Iraq.

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