Gunman Fires At US Embassy In Turkey As Tensions Simmer

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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A gunman fired shots at the U.S. embassy in Turkey just before dawn on Monday, striking a fortified guard booth but causing no injuries, according to American and Turkish officials.

The shots were fired from a moving car and struck a gate outside the embassy, which was not open at the time of the shooting.

“We can confirm a security incident took place at the U.S. Embassy early this morning,” embassy spokesman David Gainer said, according to The Associated Press. “We have no reports of any injuries and we are investigating the details.”

The incident comes as Washington and Ankara are at odds over Turkey’s detention and prosecution of American pastor Andrew Brunson on espionage charges. Turkey claims Brunson was involved in a failed 2016 coup against Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a charge the pastor denies.

The Trump administration has accused Turkey of holding Brunson on fabricated charges in order to gain leverage in diplomatic negotiations. President Donald Trump placed sanctions on two senior Turkish officials earlier in August and said he would double existing tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports until Brunson is released.

Ankara responded with additional tariffs of its own as Turkish courts rejected Brunson’s appeal for release. The diplomatic and trade dispute has worsened an ongoing crisis with Turkey’s currency, the lira, which has tumbled against the dollar. (RELATED: Turkey Slaps heavy Tariffs On US Goods As Court Denies Release Of American Pastor)

A spokesman for Erdogan’s office condemned Monday’s attack, calling it “an open attempt to create chaos” in a statement posted to Twitter, the Washington Post reported.

American diplomatic facilities in Turkey have been targeted on multiple occasions in recent years. At least one suspect was wounded in a shooting at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul in 2015, and a suicide bomber killed a local Turkish guard outside the embassy in 2013.

A shootout just outside the Istanbul consulate left three assailants and three Turkish police officers dead in 2008.

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