The İstanbul consulates of Switzerland and France on Thursday announced temporary closures due to the risk of terrorist attacks in the city, following similar moves by Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
While the Swiss consulate in İstanbul said it would be “closed until further notice,” the French Consulate General in the city will be closed to the public on Thursday and Friday, according to Turkish media reports.
The consulates are located on or near the İstiklal pedestrian street in Beyoğlu, where a November 2022 attack took place, and precautions are being taken against possible retaliatory attacks following separate incidents in which the Muslim holy book was recently burned in Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark.
Meanwhile, French international school Lycée Français Pierre Loti has also suspended classes for two days at its Beyoğlu campus, local media reported on Thursday.
Several embassies in Ankara, including those of Germany, France and Italy, issued security alerts over possible attacks against places of worship last week.
The US embassy in Turkey had also warned Americans for a second time earlier this week of possible attacks against churches, synagogues and diplomatic missions in İstanbul, while the UK renewed its travel advisory, warning its citizens in Turkey about the terrorist threat in major cities.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Thursday described the move by some Western countries of closing their consulates in Turkey citing security reasons as “psychological warfare” against his nation.
“On the day we set a target of 60 million tourists, at a time when we announced that 51.5 million tourists came and we earned $46 billion in tourism revenue, they were on the verge of launching a new psychological war against Turkey,” Soylu said during an event in Ankara.
The anti-Islam protests in Europe have stirred anger in Turkey, an officially secular but mostly Muslim country facing a crucial election in May.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has seized on the protests to energize his nationalist base in the election campaign.