US-Turkey relations fray over missile testing, embassy warnings

Istanbul, Oct 24 (efe-epa).- Turkish officials on Saturday criticized a message published by the United States embassy warning against potential “terrorist attacks and kidnappings” against American citizens and foreign nationals in Istanbul and elsewhere in the country.

In a statement published on Friday, the US embassy in Ankara said it had received “credible” reports of potential attacks and urged US citizens to exercise caution in the country, which straddles Europe and Asia.

Turkish officials took exception to the notice.

“A large state has responsibilities. It should not be creating disorder doing whatever it wants,” Süleyman Soylu, Turkey’s interior minister, told the local press.

The US embassy said it would temporarily halt consular assistance in Ankara, the capital, Istanbul, Adana and Izmir. The diplomatic statement said the US consulate general in Istanbul was identified as a potential target of an attack.

Soylu added: “Of course there can be evaluations by secret services. Put to release decisions on the internet, incriminating the country, that’s not the way to behave.”

He said the actions of the US embassy had not lived up to standards.

Relations between Turkey and the US, which have been souring for months, worsened on Friday when — hours before the US embassy statement — Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, tested the country’s new S-400 missile system, which he bought from Russia.

Erdogan said he did not care what the US thought of the matter.

Afterwards, the Pentagon condemned the testing and warned of “serious consequences.”

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