Shots fired at gate of US Embassy in Turkey
ISTANBUL (AP) — Shots were fired from a moving car at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey before dawn on Monday, an attack that came during heightened tensions between the two NATO allies.
There were no casualties and no claim of responsibility for the fleeting attack, in which three of the six bullets that were fired hit the embassy gate and a reinforced window.
“We can confirm a security incident took place at the U.S. Embassy early this morning. We have no reports of any injuries and we are investigating the details” embassy spokesman David Gainer said.
He thanked Turkish police for their “rapid response.”
Turkey’s interior minister said police and intelligence units were searching for the car and suspects, stressing their motive would be established only after they are apprehended.
Suleyman Soylu speculated, however: “Is it a provocation following recent events or is it a common crime or is it an attempt to provoke by dressing it up as a petty crime?”
Turkish officials, who are locked in a trade and diplomatic dispute with the United States, condemned the shooting in Ankara.
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted that it was “an attempt to create chaos.”
A top official in Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party said the attack was a “clear provocation” and that foreign diplomatic missions are guests of the country.
“The utmost sensitivity will be shown to ensure their security,” said the party spokesman, Omer Celik. “Turkey is a safe country.”
The U.S. Embassy was scheduled to close at midday Monday until the end of the week for the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, according to its website.
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey are high, partly because of the case of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who is being prosecuted in Turkey for alleged espionage and terrorism-related offences that he denies.
U.S. President Donald Trump has called for his immediate release.