Turkish police have arrested a man outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul who Turkish media said appeared to be mentally unstable and claimed to have explosives, the Voice of America reported Friday. The man was not actually carrying explosives, initial media reports said, although police closed off a street near the consulate after arresting him, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.
The man had parked a vehicle that he claimed had explosives near the U.S. Consulate and shouted he would set off the bomb. After police arrested him, he was taken away for medical treatment. The consulate had received a security alert and took precautionary measures before the incident, according to Reuters.
Deadly attacks have been launched in various locations in Turkey in the past year, some of them at or near U.S. government locations, putting Turkey on high alert for threats. On Feb. 13, a bomb went off at a police checkpoint near the town of Suruc, near the Syrian border. In February 2013, a suicide bombing killed a Turkish guard outside the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, a Marxist Turkish organization, claimed responsibility for the attack. It has also claimed a suicide attack in January in a tourist district of Istanbul that killed one police officer and wounded another. The woman who carried out the suicide bombing was an 18-year-old Russian citizen whose husband had allegedly died while fighting for the Islamic State group.
The Turkish National Intelligence Organization warned in early February that ISIS militants, based in Iraq and Syria, were planning to attack foreign embassies in Ankara. It said the targets were countries in the U.S.-coalition that is carrying out airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Turkish intelligence also warned that after ISIS was driven from the Syrian city of Kobani, near the Turkish border, some ISIS commanders had relocated to Turkey and were plotting terrorist attacks.