Australia warns against travel to Ankara and Istanbul
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Australia warns against travel to Ankara and Istanbul

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says terrorists are aiming for Westerners and tourists; Syrian border also off-limits

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop talks to journalists during a press conference in Nusa Dua, Bali, March 23, 2016. (AFP/SONNY TUMBELAKA)
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop talks to journalists during a press conference in Nusa Dua, Bali, March 23, 2016. (AFP/SONNY TUMBELAKA)

CANBERRA, Australia — The Australian government on Thursday warned its citizens against traveling to the Turkish cities of Ankara and Istanbul because of the terrorist threat.

The heightened travel warnings followed the deaths of more than 80 people in four separate suicide bombings in the two cities this year, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.

Australians are advised to “reconsider your need to travel” to the cities — the second-highest danger warning on a four-tier scale.

“Terrorist groups continue to threaten further attacks, including targeting tourists and westerners,” Bishop said in a statement.

Provinces of Batman, Bingol, Bitlis, Gaziantep, Hakkari, Hatay, Kilis, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Siirt, Sirnak, Tunceli and Van had previously carried the same travel warning.

Turkey overall carries Australia’s second-lowest travel warning, although Australians are advised not to go within 10 kilometers (six miles) of the Syrian border.

The warning comes as thousands of Australians prepare to travel to Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula to commemorate the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps troops in an ill-fated invasion on April 25, 1915, during World War I.

Bishop said the Australian government was not aware of any specific threat to ANZAC Day services planned on the peninsula.

Australians traveling to services should minimize any transit time spent in Istanbul and Ankara, she said.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

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