Turkiye issues travel warning for Europe and United States. Here’s why

Turkiye on Saturday (January 28) issued a travel advisory, warning its citizens over “possible Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist attacks” in Europe and the United States. Issuing two separate travel advisories, the Turkish foreign ministry recommended citizens its in European countries and the US to act calmly in the face of possible xenophobic and racist harassment and attacks. The ministry also urged citizens to stay away from areas where demonstrations might intensify. 

The first travel advisory warned of “dangerous levels of religious intolerance and hatred in Europe”, a report by the news agency AFP said. A separate statement, meanwhile, said, “There have recently been verbal and physical attacks against foreigners and acts of racism committed throughout the United States.”

The above warnings seem to appear as retaliation for similar alerts issued by Western allies cautioning their citizens in Turkey about possible terror attacks. On Friday, several embassies in Ankara, including those of Germany, France, Italy and the United States, issued warnings to their citizens in Turkey that flagged “possible retaliatory attacks by terrorists against places of worship.” The citizens were also advised to avoid tourist hotspots in Turkey. 

Ankara’s warnings also come after Rasmus Paludan, a Danish-Swedish far-right activist burned the Quran in Stockholm on January 21. Paludan replicated the stunt on Friday in front of a mosque, as well as the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen. 

Following the condemnation of the Quran burning incidents, Turkey had cancelled a planned visit by the Swedish defence minister and also summoned the Danish ambassador and accused Denmark of endorsing a “hate crime”.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Paludan’s burning of the Quran and said it was an insult to everyone, especially Muslims. Erdogan also warned Sweden not to expect support for its bid for membership into NATO, a report by the news agency Associated Press said. 

Finland and Sweden have applied for NATO membership in response to Russia’s offensive in Ukraine but their bids to join the intergovernmental military alliance must be approved by all 30 members. Turkey and Hungary are the only members not to have ratified the two applications by votes in parliament.


(With inputs from agencies)

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