• The U.S. embassy warns of threats, particularly in Istanbul
  • Turkey is dealing with the domestic PKK terrorist group
  • The country is also at odds with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally in the Middle East

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey issued a security alert Friday, warning of the threat of terrorism and kidnapping against U.S. and foreign nationals.

Citing “credible reports,” the embassy said the threat was particular to Istanbul, including the US consulate there.

“U.S. citizens are advised to exercise heightened caution in locations where Americans or foreigners may gather, including large office buildings or shopping malls,” the warning read.

There were no indications that violence was on the rise in Turkey, though its government has inserted itself into affairs that relate to U.S. national security. Keen on returning his country to its former Ottoman status, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has been looking to expand national influence into the Caucasus and parts of the Middle East.

On Friday, the president acknowledged the military had tested the S-400 missile defense system it purchased from Russia. Turkey is a NATO ally and its warming to Moscow has frustrated its Western counterparts. The U.S. government said the S-400 is a threat to NATO’s defense, though Erdogan has largely shrugged off those concerns.

Elsewhere and the Turkish relationship with Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally in the region, has soured recently. Battling for influence in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is taking Turkish products off the shelves after calls for a boycott as the rivalry heats up.

Apart from the threats of spillover from the Syrian civil war, Turkey is dealing with national security concerns stemming from the Kurdish PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by some nations.

The Turkish Interior Ministry on Friday said a militant member of the organization surrendered to security forces in southeastern Sirnak province.