Washington's handling of potential terror attacks on U.S. citizens implicates Turkey - interior minister

Turkey on Saturday blasted the United States over its handling of reports of potential terrorist attacks and kidnappings against U.S. citizens in the country.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu accused Washington of implicating Turkey and said U.S. officials should have warned their Turkish counterparts of terror threats they believed are facing the country’s nationals, Hürriyet newspaper reported.

The U.S. embassy in Turkey on Friday said it had received "credible reports of potential terrorist attacks and kidnappings against U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in Istanbul, including against the U.S. Consulate General, as well as potentially other locations in Turkey.’’  

The mission temporarily suspend all American citizen and visa services in Turkey and advised U.S. nationals to "exercise heightened caution" in locations frequented by Americans and other foreign nationals, "including large office buildings and shopping malls."

"Of course there can be intelligence assessments. But publishing decisions to be made on one’s own website, and an approach which leaves a country under implication is not right,’’ Soylu said. 

Soylu went on to say that Turkey obtains around 1,200 intelligence reports weekly, pertaining both to Turkey and other countries.

"Thirty percent of these are geared toward action… our duty is to provide safety of all locations (in the country)…. What a serious state would do is pass this on to the concerned authority in the (other) country.’’  

Soylu is the only senior official with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), who has directly accused Washington of organising the failed coup attempt of July 2016, a claim he has voiced on multiple occasions over the years.

Moreover, contrary to customs, Soylu has never been invited to the United States during his four years in office as interior minister.

Relations between the Turkish Interior Ministry and U.S. institutions have been cold during Soylu's time in office, which could have contributed to the lack of communication between officials, observers told Ahval.