The Dutch ambassador to Turkey was summoned by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain the closure of the Dutch consulate in Istanbul. The ambassadors of nine other countries also had to report to that ministry on Thursday.
The United States and a number of European countries have warned in recent days of an increased threat of terrorism in Istanbul. Citizens of those countries were urged not to attend major events in the city, and to avoid crowded tourist spots. Just like the Netherlands, several countries temporarily closed their consulates in the city as a precaution.
The fear of attacks stems from the row between Turkey and the West after a right-wing extremist in Sweden burned a copy of the Quran at the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. There have also been demonstrations at Turkish embassies in other countries, especially to protest against Turkey’s stance in opposition to Sweden’s NATO accession.
Many of these demonstrations have been against Turkey, but anti-Islamic protests are also said to have increased tensions in Istanbul, and increased anti-Western sentiment. Conversely, Turkey has warned its citizens against traveling to Europe or the United States because of the possibility of Islamophobic attacks.
In the Netherlands, the leader of anti-Islam organization Pegida tore up a Quran at a demonstration. This caused ire in Turkey, and the ambassador from the Netherlands was also summoned over the matter.
Representatives from the United States, Germany and Sweden, among others, were present at the meeting at the ministry on Thursday.