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TRAVEL ADVISORY – US Embassy in Turkey Releases Warning on Possible Terror Attacks on Western Targets in Southern Turkey

Key Points:

  • On 21 September 2016, the US Embassy in Ankara released a warning to US citizens announcing a possibility of terror attacks targeting shopping centres, Starbucks, Big Chef Restaurants and other Western targets.
  • Caution was particularly advised for the southern regions of Turkey, especially the town of Gaziantep.

Situation Summary:
Terrorism: Local reports indicate a police investigation into a possible terror cell in Gaziantep is currently underway. Terror groups are likely to target Western businesses as well as locations serving a high number of western or local patrons. Embassies in Turkey are currently on high alert due to a number of small scale attacks over the last week. On 21 September 2016, a man was shot outside the Israeli embassy in Ankara as he attempted to storm the building carrying a knife according to reports. Earlier in the week, the British Embassy was closed over the Eid al-Adha festival due to increased security concerns.


Intrinsic Comment:
There have been a number of terror attacks in Turkey over the last twelve months. Some attacks have targeted foreigners, such as the suicide bombing in June at Istanbul Atatürk Airport in which 47 people were killed. On 21 August 2016, 54 people were killed in a suicide attack at a wedding in Gaziantep. The Islamic State were attributed with conducting the attack on the wedding party which consisted mostly of pro-Kurdish supporters. Although the Islamic State have not claimed the attack themselves, their motives may be driven by the loss of territory to Syrian-Kurdish fighters recently in northern Syria.


Intrinsic Security Advice:
Risk Ratings: Gaziantep: Severe
 Extreme caution is advised for patrons of western businesses in southeastern Turkey. Maintain situational awareness at all times. Events will continue to be monitored in Turkey and Syria and risk ratings may be revised accordingly. Risks are currently heightened in areas within 10km of the Syrian-Turkey border, however Intrinsic are able to provide armed security solutions to mitigate them. Travel to Gaziantep can be conducted under an essential basis, however appropriate close protection services are strongly advised.


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