I’ve been to Turkey at least a half dozen times over the years and have always loved it there. Just last October, I traveled to Istanbul for a series of meetings. I visited the Blue Mosque and various locations that I’d written about in The Third Target
, including the area of restaurants and cafes where I’d set a fictional terrorist attack that nearly kills my main character, J.B. Collins, the New York Times
I’m so glad I went, but it’s going to be awhile before I go back. Turkey is fast turning from a moderate, peaceful democracy — indeed, long model of tolerance in the Islamic world since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1920s — into a dangerous dictatorship under President Erdogan, an increasingly tyrannical Islamist. What’s more, Turkey is becoming both a transit point for ISIS and al Qaeda and other jihadists, and even a target of Radical Islamic terrorism.
Soon, I plan to write more about the darkness falling over Turkey, a country I love dearly and one where I’ve taken my wife and children repeatedly over the years.
For now, here’s more on the warning issued to Israeli citizens:
“The Counter-Terrorism Bureau at the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday issued a travel warning calling on the public to avoid visiting Turkey and urging Israelis currently there to leave as soon as they can,” reports the Times of Israel.
The warning, which raised the terror risk in Turkey from level 3 (basic concrete threat) to level 2 (high concrete threat), came in the wake of a terror attack in central Istanbul on March 19, in which three Israelis were killed and several others wounded,” the Times noted. “That attack, the PMO said in a statement, underscored the threat emanating from Islamic State cells that seek to attack tourism sites and proved that IS has ‘high capabilities of carrying out further attacks.'”
“Terrorist infrastructures in Turkey continue to advance additional attacks against tourist targets – including Israeli tourists – throughout the country,” the statement added. Israelis in Turkey should “leave as soon as possible.””
“The police have warned that IS group members may have scouted out places of worship as well as consulates and embassies, saying that churches and synagogues especially in Ankara, as well as foundations belonging to non-Muslims, should be on their guard,” the article noted. “Israel has not stated definitively whether last Saturday’s blast had deliberately targeted Israelis. It has praised Turkey for its handling of the aftermath of the bombing. The Israeli victims of the attack were Yonathan Suher, 40, Simha Dimri, 59, and Avraham Goldman, 69. Suher and Goldman were also United States citizens.”