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US warns against travel to Turkey due to COVID-19, urges increased caution for arbitrary detentions, terrorism

The US State Department warned its citizens on Monday against travel to Turkey due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and also urged increased caution due to terrorism and arbitrary detentions when in the country, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

The State Department said it had issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Turkey because of COVID-19, which indicates a high level of the virus in the country.

The department also said the Turkish security forces have detained tens of thousands of people, including US citizens, for alleged affiliation with terrorist organizations based on scant or secret evidence and grounds that appear to be politically motivated.

According to the statement, participation in demonstrations not explicitly approved by the Turkish government as well as criticism of the government can result in arrest.

Terrorist groups may attack public areas including tourist locations, transport hubs and shopping malls with little or no warning, it also said.

“Because of the current situation in Turkey, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) said in a separate statement.

The CDC added Turkey to its “Level 4: Very High” COVID-19 level.

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