ISTANBUL — Germany closed its two main diplomatic buildings in Turkey after receiving "very serious leads" that terror attacks were being prepared against its interests in the country, the country's foreign minister said Thursday.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters in Berlin that Germany's embassy in Ankara and its consulate in Istanbul — along with German schools across the two cities — had been closed.
"Yesterday evening, our security authorities received several concrete and very serious leads that terror attacks against our German representations in Turkey were being prepared," he said.
The move came as a Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility for the recent suicide bombing in the Turkish capital of Ankara that killed 37 people — and warned it would attack security forces again.
The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks, known as the TAK, had claimed responsibility for a bombing last month in Ankara that killed 29 people. The city has now been hit by three bombings in a space of five months, ratcheting up security fears across the city and Turkey.
In a statement posted online, TAK described Sunday's car bombing in a crowded public transport hub as revenge for security operations in the mainly Kurdish southeast.
The group said it had not intended to kill civilians and was targeting security forces. It said a large number of civilians had been killed after police intervened, without explaining exactly how, and warned that further civilian deaths were "inevitable."
TAK says it split off from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), although experts who follow Kurdish militants say the groups retain ties. At least 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK began its fight for Kurdish autonomy in the southeast three decades ago.