Threats prompt the Netherlands to close its Istanbul consulate to the public
The Dutch consulate-general in Istanbul is temporarily closed to the public due to an increased threat of an attack on Western targets. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could not say how long people will be forbidden from entering the Dutch mission in the Turkish city.
At a small demonstration in The Hague, a copy of the Quran was torn up by the leader of the radical right-wing anti-Islamist group Pegida. The Dutch ambassador in Turkey was summoned by the government there last week as a result. The national government in Ankara has demanded that the Netherlands put a stop to such "provocative actions."
Earlier this month, a right-wing extremist in Sweden also burned a Quran in front of the Turkish embassy. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Sweden cannot count on Turkey's support in obtaining NATO membership in response. Both Sweden and Finland applied for this after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
"The recent demonstrations in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, where a Quran was burned and torn up respectively, may arouse anti-Western feelings and lead to demonstrations and protests. There is also an increased threat of an attack against Western targets, diplomatic representations and places of worship, especially in Istanbul," states the latest travel advice from Foreign Affairs.
Over the weekend, the ministry already reported that the Dutch people in Turkey should avoid demonstrations and other large gatherings because they can turn violent. The ministry has had no indications that there is a threat to individual Dutch travellers.
The consulate can still be reached online. The embassy in Ankara is also providing consular services.
Reporting by ANP