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Shots fired at US embassy in Ankara

By AFP | Published Mon, August 20th 2018 at 18:23, Updated August 20th 2018 at 18:26 GMT +3
A bullet hole is visible in a window of the security booth at the entrance of the US Embassy in Ankara after six shots were fired at the building early Monday. [AFP]

Gunshots were fired early Monday at the US embassy in Ankara but caused no casualties, Turkish and American officials said, amid escalating tensions between the two NATO allies.

Six shots were fired at the US embassy, the Ankara governor's office said, adding that three bullets hit the iron gate and exterior wall.

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"There are no casualties," it added.

US embassy spokesman David Gainer confirmed to AFP that a "security incident" had taken place.

"We have no reports of any injuries and we are investigating the details. We thank the Turkish National Police for their rapid response," he said.

A bullet mark was clearly visible on a security booth at the embassy, an AFP journalist at the scene reported.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu condemned the "provocative attack" in a message on Twitter.

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"We will make sure that this incident is investigated quickly and the perpetrators are brought to justice," he said.

The Turkish foreign ministry said measures were taken to "ensure the security of the US embassy in Ankara, other US missions and their personnel" across the country.

The incident comes as Ankara and Washington are locked in a bitter dispute over Turkey's detention of an American pastor on terror-related charges.

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US President Donald Trump has doubled the tariffs on aluminium and steel tariffs from Turkey, prompting Ankara to sharply hike tariffs on several US products.

On Friday, Turkey threatened to respond in kind if Washington imposed further sanctions, while a court rejected last week another appeal to free pastor Andrew Brunson.

The diplomatic stand-off has sent the Turkish currency into free fall against dollar, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowing to lead the country out of the crisis.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin blasted the attack at the US embassy as an attempt to "create chaos".

"Turkey is a safe country and all foreign missions are safeguarded by law," he wrote on Twitter.

In a written statement ahead of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha, Erdogan remained defiant over the US sanctions.

"The attack aimed at our economy has no difference from an attack aimed at our call to prayer or flag," he said.

The president said those who believe they will bring Turkey to its knees through the foreign currency exchange rate "will soon see they are mistaken."

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