US embassy in Turkey is forced to debunk a conspiracy theory after media rumors

Published March 14th, 2016 - 11:51 GMT
The US embassy in Ankara issued a warning about a potential attack in the city two days before it happened, which of course led to conspiracy theories. (AFP/Adem Altan)
The US embassy in Ankara issued a warning about a potential attack in the city two days before it happened, which of course led to conspiracy theories. (AFP/Adem Altan)

For every newsworthy event, there is an Internet-worthy conspiracy theory. So it is perhaps not surprising that conspiracy theorists jumped on the news that the US embassy in Ankara had issued a warning about a potential attack in the city two days before Sunday’s bombing.

A statement on the embassy’s website asked US citizens to remain cautious after information arose regarding a potential attack.

“The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that there is information regarding a potential terrorist plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing located in the Bahcelievler area of Ankara.  U.S. citizens should avoid this area,” the statement—issued on March 11—said.

To a conspiracy theorist, this is perhaps evidence enough of some sort of false flag. Social media users jumped at the scoop, accusing the US of having some sort of involvement, or condemning the US for not stopping it happening.

There was also anger that the US had apparently not warned Turkish citizens to avoid the area.

 

However, as is normally the case, theories on the Internet need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Warnings about intelligence regarding potential attacks are not uncommon. While security forces or government agencies may have information that an attack may happen, that in no way means they know the exact time or location.

The US embassy warned of an attack in Bahcelievler, an area several kilometres from where Sunday’s deadly bombing took place. This means that US citizens were actually told to avoid the wrong area of town. 

The embassy even issued a statement on Twitter explaining why it had issued the warning.


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