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3 Feb, 2023 14:08

US should get ‘filthy hands’ off Türkiye – minister

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu accused Washington of working to hurt his country amid a consulate closure row
US should get ‘filthy hands’ off Türkiye – minister

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu accused US ambassador Jeffry Flake of trying to “confuse” people in the host nation and told him to get his “filthy hands” off the country. He has previously claimed that Western nations were waging “psychological warfare” to undermine tourism in Türkiye.

“I’m telling you very clearly, get your filthy hands off Türkiye. I know clearly what you have done, what steps you have taken, and how you want to confuse Türkiye,” the minister said in a speech on Friday.

Soylu claimed the first questions “every US ambassador” arriving in Türkiye was asked were “How can I stage a coup” and “How can I harm Türkiye.” The minister also stated that European nations were “run” by American diplomats.

The remarks came a day after the US and several EU nations decided to temporarily shut down their consulates in Istanbul due to “security considerations.” The foreign governments also advised their citizens to avoid tourist hotspots in Türkiye, citing a terrorist threat.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the nations involved failed to convey to Ankara any evidence that would justify the shutdowns.

“They tell us, ‘We have concrete information, there’s a threat. That’s why we’re closing’. Who did it come from? Where? Who will do it? There’s no information about that,” Cavusoglu said on Thursday.

The top diplomat described the move as “deliberate” and possibly designed to put the incumbent government into a “difficult situation” before the upcoming general elections.

Soylu added that Western governments actually reacted with “psychological warfare” to Turkish plans to boost tourism in the country.

The Friday event in Antalya, during which the interior minister blasted the US ambassador, was dedicated to migration issues.

In his speech, Soylu accused Western nations of aggravating the problem that Ankara faces due to mass migration. In particular, he expressed concern with instability in the neighboring nations of Iraq and Syria, where “state authority has completely disappeared,” according to the minister.