Turkish citizens traveling to USA 'face risk of arbitrary arrest' - Ankara

Turkish citizens traveling to USA 'face risk of arbitrary arrest' - Ankara

The foreign ministry today advised Turks not to fly to the States because of the increased terror acts and arbitrary arrests of Turkish citizens. Listing some recent incidents in the USA, the Turkish foreign ministry added that state buildings, city centres, metro stations and schools could be targeted by far-right organisations and racist groups.

The ministry mentioned recent incidents including attacks at Ohio University's campus, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, Dar Al-Farooq Mosque in Minnesota and a church in Texas.

On Thursday, the U.S. State Department issued its own travel advisory where countries are divided between four categories from 1 (the safest) to 4 (the least safe).

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Speaking to reporters after Friday prayers, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the reciprocal travel warnings did not help the strained ties between Ankara and Washington. Stressing that "terror knows to borders", he added that Ankara and Istanbul were as safe as Washington and NY. The relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies U.S. and Turkey are now very tense. Earlier this month, a U.S. jury found a Turkish banker guilty of helping Iran to evade United States sanctions.

Turkey outlawed ByLock in the aftermath of the attempted putsch, saying followers of the USA -based cleric Fethullah Gulen used it to communicate on the night of July 15, 2016, when rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and warplanes to attack parliament, killing more than 240 people.

Rights groups and Turkey's Western allies say President Tayyip Erdogan is using the purges as a pretext to muzzle dissent, but the government says the measures are necessary due to the security threats it faces.

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