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Foreign Ministry warns Finns in Turkey to exercise greater caution

Sweden, Denmark and Norway issued similar warnings on Saturday.

Demonstranter bränner en svensk flagga i Istanbul.
Protesters in Istanbul burned a Swedish flag last week in response to the Stockholm rally. Image: Hakan Akgun/STELLA Pictures/ddp/abaca press
Yle News

Finland has warned its citizens in Turkey to avoid crowded areas and demonstrations. On Saturday evening the Finnish Foreign Ministry sent text messages to Finns in Turkey who had filed a travel declaration, urging them to avoid crowds, along with other cautionary advice.

Sweden, Denmark and Norway issued similar warnings on Saturday. Sweden said that demonstrations were expected near its embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul.

The Finnish Foreign Ministry has not so far changed its general travel advisory for Turkey, which was last updated in early December.

That advisory urges Finns travelling to the country to exercise special care. It advises them to avoid all travel to Turkey's border region with Syria, and to avoid unnecessary travel to eastern Turkey near the border with Iran and Iraq.

"The security situation in the country may deteriorate quickly. Turkey's military operation in northeastern Syria continues and Turkey has continued its anti-terrorist operations in northern Iraq," the ministry says on its website.

Yle News' podcast All Points North asked if Finland can complete Nato accession without Sweden. Listen here.

Turkey warns citizens in Europe

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has also updated its own travel bulletin for Turkish citizens abroad.

It warned that "in some European countries, increasing anti-Islam, xenophobia, racism and propagandistic demonstrations against our country by groups with connections to terrorist organisations have been observed."

According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Turks in these countries should be on their guard, avoid demonstrations and remain calm if they are attacked.

Turkey has expressed outrage that Sweden allowed a Danish far-right politician to hold a Koran-burning rally in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm last weekend. Swedish media have reported that the event was paid by a former contributor to the Kremlin-backed channel RT who also works for the nationalist Sweden Democrats party.

Due to the incident, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Sweden should not expect Ankara to support the country's Nato membership. Turkey indefinitely suspended formal negotiations on Finland's and Sweden's Nato membership bids.

On Saturday Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) told Yle that he has maintained close contacts with Turkey, even though the tripartite negotiations are on hold.

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