Dutch consulate to review security

20th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

20 November 2003 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch consulate general in Turkey will investigate sharpening its security after a second wave of bomb attacks killed at least 27 people in the city of Istanbul on Thursday.The Dutch consulate general is situated about 1km from where one of the bomb blasts occurred at the British consulate. Despite the fact that it already has heavy security, an official said the Dutch would reassess its safety measures."But we can't do much more. We have a large group of security guards

20 November 2003

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch consulate general in Turkey will investigate sharpening its security after a second wave of bomb attacks killed at least 27 people in the city of Istanbul on Thursday.

The Dutch consulate general is situated about 1km from where one of the bomb blasts occurred at the British consulate. Despite the fact that it already has heavy security, an official said the Dutch would reassess its safety measures.

"But we can't do much more. We have a large group of security guards and the Turkish police are at the entrance," an official said to Dutch associated press ANP.

The coordinated bomb attacks were focused at the British consulate and the HSBC bank headquarters in Istanbul.

British Consul-General Roger Short was among at least 16 people killed in the attack on the consulate, BBC reported. There has been no word on possible Dutch victims in any of the blasts.

Suicide bombers are suspected to have carried out both attacks and at least 450 people are believed to have been injured. The blasts follow the bomb attacks against two synagogues in Istanbul on Saturday that killed 25 people.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the latest bombings bore the hallmarks of Al Qaeda and associated organisations. Both Britain and the US have called the attacks a challenge against the war against terror, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, the Dutch consulate official said the explosion at the British diplomatic building was so close that Dutch staff felt the force of the blast. "Directly around us windows and buildings are also completely smashed," she said.

Trading on the Istanbul stock market was suspended after the main index fell 7.4 percent in what one trader described as "panic sales".

Other European stocks also fell between 1 and 2 percent, wiping out earlier gains. Tourist sector shares suffered the most, while Dutch flag carrier KLM suffered the heaviest losses among Dutch medium-sized companies.

The Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry said on its website that the risk of terrorist attacks has increased across the globe, including in Turkey. Many Dutch nationals holiday along the Turkish coast and as part of its general terrorism warning, the foreign ministry has already been urging people to take extra safety precautions when travelling in the mainly Islamic nation.

But unlike Spain, the Netherlands did not issue a negative travel advice for Turkey. Instead, Dutch nationals were warned to be extra careful and avoid areas which attract a lot of foreigners.

A recent audio tape allegedly of Osama bin Laden, the leader of terrorist network Al Qaeda, warned the US and its allies of possible terrorist attacks. The Netherlands, by implication, was also warned.

The Dutch government gave political, but not military support to the war against Iraq and has dispatched 1,100 troops to the war-torn nation to assist in peacekeeping operations. The Parliament will soon decide on whether to extend the mission by an extra six months.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news

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