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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

U.S. warns of rising terror threat to Westerners throughout Turkey

WASHINGTON — The United States has warned Americans to be on guard against terror attacks by Islamist, and leftist terror groups in Turkey.

A State Department report said the Islamic insurgency has been emerging throughout Turkey including in Istanbul, the largest city in the country.

"Indigenous and international terrorist groups are operating in Turkey, including in the Istanbul area," a report, entitled "Turkey 2007 Crime & Safety Report: Istanbul," Middle East Newsline reported.
The State Department said groups deemed terrorists have turned their attention to Western and U.S. targets.

"The threat of terrorism in Istanbul from both transnational and indigenous groups remain high," the report said. "In general, terrorist groups in Istanbul can be separated into three categories: Leftists, Kurdish Separatists and Islamic Radicals."

The report cited the leftist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front and the Marxist-Leninist Community Party, both deemed anti-American. The Kurdish Workers Party has avoided attacking U.S. targets, the report said.

"In the recent past, most of these groups did not specifically target Americans, but the 2003 bombings in Istanbul highlight that Western interests and U.S. allies are now being targeted in Turkey," the report said.

"Radically pro-Islamic groups such as Al Qaida and IBDA-C [Great Eastern Islamic Raiders-Front] make up a third category of terrorist organizations in Istanbul, and also pose a possible threat to Americans," the report said. "In the aftermath of the November 2003 Istanbul bombings, police discovered such international terrorist groups have recruited from among various groups in Turkey for possible terrorist actions."

The report said Turkish insurgents have been frequently detonating so-called sound bombs.

The report said Istanbul, with a population of at least 13 million, has undergone a significant increase in violent crime. The department urges Americans to maintain a low profile and remain vigilant.

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