The US Embassy in Turkey has issued a security alert due to demonstrations and attacks on US branded businesses in the country amid the negative public sentiment caused by ongoing Israeli strikes on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza and the US support for Israel.
US missions and businesses and in Turkey have been the subjects of boycotts and protests since Israel began its retaliatory strikes on Gaza after Oct. 7, when Hamas militants launched an unprecedented attack on the country, killing at least 1,400 civilians. US businesses are targeted due to their real or perceived support for Israel, whose strikes have reportedly led to the killing of 11,000 civilians in Gaza so far.
The embassy said in its statement that demonstrations critical of US foreign policy are expected to continue along with calls for boycotts of US businesses, warning that large gatherings may result in enhanced police presence, road closures and traffic disruptions and that any gathering, even those intended to be peaceful, could escalate and turn violent.
It said protests at well-known US cafe and fast-food chains in Turkey disrupted business and escalated to vandalism, property damage and some injuries to individuals. Both Starbucks and McDonalds have recently been the scene of protests against US support for Israel.
The embassy asked US citizens in the country to exercise caution and stay alert at locations publicly associated with the United States or Israel, keep a low profile, avoid areas around protests and demonstrations, avoid crowds, be aware of their surroundings and monitor local media for updates.
Last month, the embassy announced the closure to the public of the US Consulate in the southern Turkish province of Adana until further notice due to the security risks stemming from anti-Israeli demonstrations in the country.
In Adana, rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown at the US Consulate building as a crowd attempted to breach the compound during an anti-Israeli protest last month.
Adana is home to İncirlik Airbase, where airmen from the US Air Force are deployed to defend NATO’s southern flank.