Following protests over recent public burnings of the Quran in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark by far-right parties, at least five European nations have closed their consulates in Turkey and cancelled visa and passport appointments due to terror concerns.
The United Kingdom consulate was among the first to close. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also updated its Türkiye travel advice, warning citizens of potential dangers while visiting this country.
"There is a risk that Western citizens will be targets or caught up in assaults, particularly in big cities," the Foreign Office warned.
The German consulate in Turkey likewise closed on the same day, cancelling visa and passport appointments with no indication of when they would reopen. However, the German Embassy in Ankara remains open.
"Following recent events in various European capitals where the Quran was publicly burned or destroyed, security agencies feel the possibility of terrorist acts in Istanbul has grown," officials explained in a statement.
The consulate also warned German citizens living in Turkey and German tourists to avoid Istanbul's core district of Beyoglu and Taksim Square, as well as areas with "international crowds" these days.
Due to the same fears, the Swedish and Dutch consulates have also ceased receiving guests.
The French Consulate General in Istanbul, on the other hand, has announced that it will be closed to the public for two consecutive work days, Thursday and Friday, however it is unclear whether they will reopen on Monday.
Süleyman Soylu, Turkish Minister of Interior, stated in a video statement posted on his official Twitter account that Western countries had initiated a new psychological war against Turkey.
"We all know quite well that their goal is to overshadow Turkey's stability and peace," he added, adding that the embassies and consulates had closed on the same day that Turkey declared a $46 billion tourism revenue.
On January 30, the Turkish Ministry of Interior issued a travel warning for Turkish citizens, encouraging them to avoid visiting these countries due to anti-Muslim and anti-Turkish actions, and emphasising that "potential Islamophobic, xenophobic, and racist acts" could occur.
The warning came after a far-right lawmaker and anti-Islam agitator, Rasmus Paludan, a dual Danish-Swedish national, torched the Islamic holy book in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on January 21. Chang Frick, a former contributor to the Kremlin-backed station RT, paid for Paludan's 320 Swedish krona demonstration permit.
By fLEXI tEAM