Travel advice

Travel advice Turkey

Important to note:

  • Elections will be held in Turkey on 24 June 2018. Therefore we recommend you avoid mass meetings, demonstrations and gatherings; these can lead to violence. Make sure you are aware of current developments and follow local news via the media. Follow instructions from authorities at any time.
  • In connection with the threat of terrorism, the Turkish authorities can take visible & invisible security measures in public buildings, large events and public meetings. Further checks can also take place at airports, at border crossings and traffic intersections. Additional identity checks can also be carried out. Stay alert and follow the instructions of the local authorities. Make sure you always have a valid travel document and valid identity documents with you.
  • This travel advice has been carefully composed. Please remember only you are responsible for your safety if you decide to travel to Turkey.

The purpose of this travel advice is to inform you about safety in Turkey plus you will also find general and practical tips. Read the entire travel advice or choose one of the following topics:

  • Traffic safety
  • Unsafe areas
  • Crime
  • Terrorism
  • Local laws, rules and customs
  • Accessibility and emergency situations
  • Health
  • Natural disasters
  • Travel documents and visa information

Traffic safety

Security risks are associated with travel to Turkey. It is advisable to be very careful in traffic and not to drive on the road in Southeast Turkey after sunset. In Turkey, all those involved in traffic accidents are taken into custody with fatal consequences, including people who are not guilty of the accident. If you are driving in Turkey you need to have a notarised translation of your driving licence, visit the AA website for more information

Unsafe areas

There are several unsafe areas in Turkey and there is an increased risk of terrorist attacks throughout Turkey. This is mainly due to the fight against the terrorist organizations Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria; (ISIS). See also the cup of terrorism. In Turkey you need to be alert, especially in the big cities and in busy places.

Travel advice unsafe areas:

  • Do not travel to the border area with Syria and Iraq they are related to military activity. Special military security zones have been established along the border between Turkey and Syria in the province of Gaziantep. Turkey is also militarily active in a border strip in North Syria
  • Do not travel to Southeast Turkey. Through the civil war in Syria it is not safe along the Turkish-Syrian border.
  • Do not travel to the border area with Iraq in connection with military activity in northern Iraq. The situation here is very dangerous as a result of the armed struggle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
  • Only use the border crossing at Habur if necessary and drive only on the main road to and from the border crossing.
  • In most provinces in southeast Turkey it is not safe. The PKK is also active in the province of Kars. There, too, there is a risk of unrest, attacks and hostilities.
  • In the southeast of Turkey, kidnappings may also occur.
  • The border with Armenia has been closed since 1993 due to political tensions between the two countries

Only travel to the following provinces if necessary:

  • Agri;
  • Batman;
  • Bingol;
  • Bitlis;
  • Diyarbakir;
  • Gaziantep;
  • Hakkari;
  • Hatay;
  • Igdir;
  • Mardin;
  • Muş;
  • Şanliurfa;
  • Şirnak;
  • Siirt;
  • Tunceli;
  • Van;

Map for travel advice Turkey:

folder turkey travel advice

Crime

The extent to which crime occurs in Turkey is comparable to that in other countries in Southern Europe. More crime occurs in large cities and tourist centers, and crime seems to increase in Istanbul in particular. Think, for example, of pickpocketing, fraud with credit cards and fraud in general. Do not be pressured to buy something because it often turns out that purchases are worth less than the price paid for them.

Terrorism

There is an increased risk of terrorist attacks throughout the country. Since 2015, there have been regular terrorist attacks in Turkey in which hundreds have been killed and wounded. Listed below are the most recent attacks:

  • New Year's Eve 2017; popular nightclub in Istanbul. 39 dead and 69 injured, mostly foreigners.
  • December 19, 2016; bus with military personnel in Kayseri. 13 dead and 48 injured.
  • 10 December 2016: attack near the football stadium at Besiktas. 44 dead over 150 injured.

You should be careful throughout Turkey, especially in large cities and in crowded places. Extra attention is required in government buildings and at political meetings and demonstrations. Tourists, tourist attractions, entertainment venues, shopping centers, sports centers, cultural centers, churches and public transport can also be the target of an attack.

Local laws, rules and customs

If you travel to Turkey, you will have to deal with other laws, rules and customs. You must comply with the laws and regulations of the country you are visiting. Make sure you are aware of generally applicable laws and regulations. In particular, keep in mind the following

  • It is not acceptable in Turkey to insult the Turkish nation, the head of state, the flag or the national anthem. Damaging or destroying Turkish banknotes and coins is considered an insult for which you can be prosecuted.
  • The religious Gansu movement is regarded as a terrorist organization. Persons and organizations that are connected to the movement or are suspected of supporting the organization are being prosecuted.
  • Since July 21, 2016, the state of emergency is in Turkey and it is still in force. In this context, the Turkish security authorities have additional powers to follow and uphold suspects.
  • Homosexuality is not generally accepted in Turkey. Keep that in mind in the way you stand out in public.
  • The use, possession and trafficking in narcotics is severely punished in Turkey.
  • It is punishable to make photographs of military objects.
  • It is punishable to take cultural-historical or archaeological items, such as old coins or stones, from Turkey. Pay close attention to what you can and can not take with you.

Accessibility and emergency situations

Leave your details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that you are easier to find. You will receive an e-mail if the travel advice changes or an SMS if a crisis situation occurs. Make sure you are constantly informed of the developments. Through the travel advice, but also through the media. You must always have a valid proof of identity with you.

Do you need immediate help? Call the emergency number 155 (police), 112 (ambulance), 110 (fire brigade).

For more information about the Embassy, visit the website and for information on the London Turkish consulate you can consult the website of the Consulate General in Istanbul.

Health

Find out what precautions you should take for your health. Medical facilities abroad may be limited and you may need to evacuate if you become ill or have an accident. The costs are high and therefore you should take out travel health insurance, the EHIC card is not valid in Turkey. If you have to go to the doctor or be hospitalized, these costs are usually reimbursed from the basic health insurance. The amount that is covered is at most equal to the costs of treatment. Always consult your insurance coverage for exact amounts that are covered.

You can find information on current epidemics, recommended vaccinations and measures to prevent malaria and other infectious diseases on the website of the UK Government website.

Natural disasters

If earthquakes are coming through, ensure that you are constantly aware of the current situation and if an emergency occurs, follow the instructions of the local authorities. When you make an organized trip, keep in touch with your travel organization.

Travel documents and visas

For your trip to Turkey you need a valid travel document and a visa. Order your visa easily within 5 minutes, pay with either debit or credit card or PayPal and receive your visa the same day and in most cases within 24 hours. You can also purchase a visa via the website of the Turkish government you must have a credit card for this .

Apply now for your Turkey visa