NEWS

Powder-filled envelope sends employee at Canada's consulate in Turkey to hospital

10/24/2014 09:06 EDT | Updated 12/24/2014 05:59 EST
ISTANBUL - Canada's consulate in Istanbul was closed Friday after an employee opened a package filled with yellow powder.

The package was received around noon at the same time as similar envelopes were reported at the German and Belgian consulates, Turkish authorities said.

Decontamination units were sent to each building and in the case of the Canadian consulate, the work is now complete, said Dogan Eskinat, the spokesman for the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority of Turkey.

"There are no security problems," Eskinat said in a telephone interview.

The staff at the consulate who came into contact with the powder were also decontaminated, said Eskinat.

"The staff have been sent to hospital," he said, but could provide no information on their condition.

A later report from Associated Press quoted Eskinat as saying that seven people from the Canadian consulate were hospitalized as a precaution after one of them opened a package and was exposed to a yellow powder.

The U.S. consulate in Istanbul also received an envelope of suspicious yellow powder on Friday, but the building was not evacuated, said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki in Washington.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Department in Ottawa would only say that the consulate had been closed for the day as a security precaution.

"As an investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time," Claude Rochon said in an e-mail.

The powder is now being analysed by Turkish health authorities.

-- With files from the Associated Press

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