US, EU unsafe for Turkish nationals: Turkish Foreign Ministry
Ankara cited "dangerous levels of religious intolerance" as one of the reasons for posing a safety risk for Turkish travelers.
On Saturday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning for nationals traveling to the US and Europe, a move is seen as retaliation in light of similar warnings issued by Western powers on Turkey.
Several western countries have advised their citizens to be wary of traveling to Turkey on the basis that they may be arrested if they are caught speaking against the government.
They also advised citizens against attending mass events and avoiding tourist locations where terrorist groups may conduct operations.
These travel alerts were issued at a time when Turkey's relations with the West have hit all-time lows in light of its refusal to ratify Sweden and Finland's bid to join the NATO alliance.
The French and US embassies in Ankara alerted their nationals to a higher risk of retaliatory attacks in Turkey.
"In the wake of recent Quran-burning incidents in Europe, the US government cautions its citizens of possible retaliatory attacks by terrorists against places of worship in Turkey," said the US embassy.
"Terrorists could attack with little or no warning, targeting places of worship or places Westerners frequent," the embassy added, urging people to stay alert and avoid crowds.
Additionally, the French embassy in Turkey warned French ex-pats to be "highly vigilant" in an email that also emphasized the US advisories.
Turkey has also been outraged by the recent burning of a copy of the Quran in Copenhagen by the same far-right extremist, Rasmus Paludan, who burnt a copy in Stockholm earlier this month.
Paludan seems to have inspired a trend of Quran desecration. Two days ago a Dutch extremist ripped the holy book in the Hague.
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According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Turkish travelers are advised to travel to the US and Europe at their own risk against "dangerous levels of religious intolerance and hatred in Europe".
"There have recently been verbal and physical attacks against foreigners and acts of racism committed throughout the United States," a separate statement reads.
On Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the trilateral mechanism which involves Turkey, Sweden, and Finland on NATO membership has been postponed because Ankara no longer sees any benefit in it.
The negotiations were scheduled to take place next month, according to reports citing Turkish diplomatic sources, but they were postponed last Tuesday upon Ankara's request due to the recent scandals aimed at offending Turkey.
"Under these circumstances, trilateral talks are pointless. What is the essence of the mechanism? To comply with the terms of the memorandum punctually. But the current situation is unlikely to create a healthy atmosphere necessary for negotiations. Sweden has not taken serious steps to fulfill the terms of the memorandum, citing various reasons, like changing laws, and the constitution. Therefore, there is no point in the mechanism now," Cavusoglu said at a press conference with his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic, in Ankara.
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