The US government has ordered all civilian family members of its Istanbul consulate staff to leave Turkey because of increasing threats from terrorist organizations, according to a travel warning issued Saturday by the US State Department.
“The Department of State made this decision based on security information indicating extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to attack US citizens in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent,” the warning said.
The warning goes beyond the one issued Monday that urged Americans to avoid traveling to southeast Turkey, especially urban centers near the Turkish-Syrian border, because of recent terrorist attacks.
Turkey has become increasingly volatile in the past year because of terrorist attacks at home and its involvement in the Syrian civil war.
ISIS is suspected in a June attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that left 44 people dead, and an explosion at an August wedding in Gaziantep, not far from the border with Syria, that killed at least 54 people.
The Turkish army suspects the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was behind a September car bombing in southeast Turkey that killed at least 18 people. That group has been accused of a string of bombings targeting Turkish police and army assets.
Not all the violence involves militant groups. A failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July led to a massive number of arrests and the imposition of a state of emergency.
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SOURCE: CNN, Ralph Ellis