Israelis visiting Istanbul should leave "as soon as possible", Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday, stepping up a May 30 warning against travel to Turkey due to threats from Iran.
Lapid spoke at a Yesh Atid faction meeting. "Following events in recent weeks in Turkey and after a series of Iranian attempts to launch attacks against Israelis vacationing in Istanbul, we call on Israelis to avoid unnecessary travel there, Lapid said adding that Israelis already visiting the city should return to Israel as soon as possible.
"Israeli security agencies, the Foreign Ministry and PMO have all partnered in recent weeks, in a major operation that has saved the lives of Israelis. Some have returned and are walking among us oblivious of the danger they were in," Lapid said.
"These terrorists target vacationing Israelis with the purpose of abducting or murdering them," he said. "Anyone can become a target. The danger is real and immediate," he said.
The foreign minister called on the Israeli public to cancel all planned travel to Istanbul. "No vacation is worth you lives," he said.
Lapid thanked the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for what he described as their efforts to save the lives of Israeli citizens.
"Tourism between our two countries is important but the Turkish government understands that some risks are too dangerous to take," he said.
"I would like to relay a message to Iran," Lapid said. "Anyone who harms Israelis will not escape consequences. Israel's long arm will find them no matter where they are," he said.
"We hope and believe that the travel warning will not be necessary in the long-term. This is the tourist season and we will do everything in our power to allow Israelis to return and safely enjoy everything Turkey has to offer, as quickly as possible," he said.