Turkish Interior Minister: Closing consulates is "psychological warfare"

Turkish Interior Minister: Closing consulates is "psychological warfare"
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Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has accused Western countries of waging psychological warfare against Turkey at a time when Turkey is seeking to increase its tourism revenues

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Thursday that the closure of Western countries' consulates in Istanbul is part of a psychological warfare against Turkey.

Last week, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and France closed their diplomatic missions in Istanbul due to threats related to Koran-burning protests in several European capitals, with some also issuing terror warnings.

"There is a possibility that citizens from Western countries may be targeted or involved in attacks, particularly in major cities," the British Foreign Office wrote on its travel advice page.

The U.S. Embassy also warned its nationals of increased risks in "places frequently visited by Westerners."

According to Soylu, these warnings stem from an "operation" carried out by Western embassies in Turkey.

"America and the West do not want us to be independent and free. Since we have set a goal of attracting 60 million tourists, they have started a new psychological war via ISIS," he said, without giving details. Soylu also accused the U.S. of supporting terrorist organizations.

"We know who supported the terrorist organizations. It is the US that is feeding the PKK/PYD. America and the West, who have been providing them with money, logistics and human resources for years, have not given up their dream of establishing a terrorist state," he said, referring to Kurdish armed groups in Syria, which Turkey accuses of having links to the outlawed PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party)

The Interior Ministry had said earlier that security measures had been raised to the highest level and that it was evaluating information from countries that had updated their travel advisories.

Danish, Swedish and Dutch far-right groups recently burned copies of the Koran to protest Turkey's decision to block Sweden's and Finland's NATO membership bids.

Turkey accused the governments of allowing such actions and warned its citizens of "possible Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist attacks" in the U.S. and Europe.