Canadian Consulate in Istanbul evacuated after suspicious powder found

Turkish authorities have begun an investigation into an unidentified yellow powder that was found in a package received at the Canadian Consulate in Istanbul. The consulate has been evacuated, says CBC's Jeff Semple.

Letters sent to Canadian, German, Belgian consulates contain 'yellow substance'

Authorities evacuate Canadian Consulate in Turkey after yellow powder found in package 1:32

The Canadian Consulate in Istanbul was evacuated Friday after an unidentified yellow powder was found in a package delivered there.

Turkish authorities have begun an investigation, the CBC's Jeff Semple reported Friday morning.

"The Canadian, Belgian and German consulates in Istanbul have all been evacuated after all three received a suspicious package this morning, according to reports in the Turkish media," Semple said in London.

"The letter containing a yellow substance was examined in line with regular procedures," Turkey's disaster management agency, AFAD, said in a statement.

The Canadian Consulate in Istanbul was evacuated after a suspicious substance was received Friday. (Reuters)

One consulate employee came directly into contact with the suspicious package, and six others had indirect exposure, the Turkish statement said.

Everyone working at the Canadian Consulate in Istanbul is safe and accounted for, Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade said in a statement.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told Canada's Parliament Friday that the person who opened the package was receiving medical care.

"We're not sure if it's required, but it's at an abundance of caution," he said. "We've closed the mission until we can ensure the safety of all our employees."

A consulate employee speaking to a Turkish television interviewer said workers received an email telling them to leave the building immediately.

"We couldn't grab our bags or jackets," she said in Turkish. "They took us outside. We gathered outside the consulate, We were told an envelope came to the consulate, there was a powder inside, that it was dangerous, and that we were being sent home."

The Belgian Consulate, asked by CNN about the security incident, said police were investigating a substance found in an envelope sent there.

The air conditioning system in the consulate has been turned off, Semple reported. "And … anyone who was exposed to the package has been kept in that room, cordoned off from everyone else as a precaution."

The Canadian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey's capital, is also closed, but that has been attributed to shortened Friday hours, and not any threat.

On Thursday, Canadian Forces officials said they were assessing whether heightened security was necessary at bases after a shooting on Parliament Hill on Wednesday left an Ontario reservist dead. Also mentioned were installations abroad.

“We will carry on all our missions at home and abroad in a steadfast, resolute and vigilant manner, and serve our nation and her people,” said Gen. Tom Lawson, chief of Canada's defence staff, in a statement. 

With files from Reuters

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