Four members of the Islamic State terrorist group (banned in Russia), suspected of preparing an attack against the U.S. embassy in Turkey, were arrested in the country's north, local media reported Monday.
The suspected ISIS members were arrested in a possible attack on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkish state media reported. However, it was not clear if these arrests were linked to the threat against the U.S. Embassy.
On Sunday. Embassy officials said the building will be closed to the general public March 5 due to a security threat.
Visa interviews and other routine services would be canceled on Monday, the embassy said, adding that it would make an announcement when it was ready to reopen. The Turkish Interior Ministry said security forces and the military arrested 4,698 people in the past week.
While relations between the United States and Turkey - both North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and members of the coalition against Islamic State - have been strained in recent months, Turkey said the embassy closure was not political.
Several digital documents were seized in the operation, the agency reported. Moreover, 12,538 suspects, including 5,654 foreigners, were detained between 2011 and 2018 for links to Daesh. They were allegedly trying to recruit members for the Islamic State group and were in contact with people in "conflict zones", the statement said.
In 2013, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive in front of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.
Turkey has used the FETO label to describe supporters of Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, a former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who the Turkish leader has since blamed for a failed July 2016 coup and other conspiracies against his government.
The last attack which IS claimed was just 17 minutes into 2017 when a gunman killed 39 people at the elite Istanbul nightclub Reina during New Year's celebrations.