US Embassy in Turkey warns its citizens on Nevruz, updates travel warning

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara has warned its citizens over the upcoming Nevruz celebrations in the country, citing increasing terrorist attacks and threats in Turkey.

"[The] U.S. Embassy Ankara informs U.S. citizens that in light of recent events and the upcoming Nevruz holidays, citizens should be mindful of their security precautions. Nevruz celebrations are anticipated in various locations throughout Turkey on March 17-21.

Local authorities have banned large gatherings during select dates over the Nevruz period citing security concerns. Celebrations in Ankara, Istanbul, [the Aegean province of] Izmir, and [the southern province of] Adana are expected to take place Sunday, March 20.

The celebration in [the southeastern province of] Diyarbakir, traditionally the site of the largest Nevruz festivities, is currently scheduled for March 21. The entire period is expected to see festivities that could be large and/or spontaneous," the U.S. Embassy said in its security message for U.S. citizens which was posted on the official website of the embassy on March 17, days after a suicide car bomb ripped through Kizilay Square in central Ankara on March 13, killing at least 35 people and wounding 125, in the latest deadly attack to hit Turkey.

"Nevruz has political as well as social connotations, and in some recent years has been a flashpoint for spontaneous demonstrations. Demonstrations and large events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. We advise U.S. citizens to continue to avoid political gatherings, protests, and demonstrations and to exercise caution if you are in the vicinity. Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings and local events, monitor local news stations for updates, and follow local authority instructions," the embassy said.

"The U.S. Embassy also reminds individuals that terrorist organizations have targeted transportation hubs, Turkish government facilities, and public spaces in the recent past," it noted.

Source: National News Agency