Is travel to Turkey safe right now?
September 6, 2017 1:07 PM   Subscribe

I will be in Europe for a week for work, and my friend and coworker who's traveling with me wants to spend a few days in Istanbul. Given the political climate right now, I'm wary of this, especially with the warning on the State Dept website.

She's being fairly dismissive of the warning, and while I know - having lived in a war-torn country myself for a few years - that things sometimes seem a lot worse on the evening news elsewhere than it actually does in the country itself, I'm still hesitant.

Aside from random terrorist attacks in Istanbul, is there anything else we need to be concerned about? Has anyone traveled there recently with adverse effect? We are both permanent residents in the United States, and she and I hold Singaporean and Sri Lankan passports, respectively. I was born in the United Arab Emirates, and am wondering if I'd have trouble getting back in this country with a Turkish stamp in my passport. Thanks much!
posted by Everydayville to Travel & Transportation around Istanbul, Turkey (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was in Istanbul for a couple days a few weeks ago. I didn't see any signs of trouble, though of course YMMV. Personally, I can't wait to go back as soon as I can rack up some more vacation time!
posted by mmtaylor at 2:01 PM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

My anecdata is a little older, but I was in Istanbul during the referendum in April, and aside from some demonstrations (and the endless campaign posters) I didn't notice anything that I would have considered outside of the ordinary. We did run into a textbook shoe-shining scam but just walked away.
posted by invokeuse at 4:06 PM on September 6, 2017

I have both Turkish and foreign friends living in Istanbul, and many who left after the "coup" attempt. The ones who left still return on visits, and one who is a teacher has learned to manage her conversations and act and speak with caution to avoid conflicts... but then, she speaks Turkish. If you are a tourist you should be OK. Keep an eye on the news and if there is any reason for caution avoid hanging near the major Embassies (the US embassy is way outside of the center of town, but the British embassy is right in trendy Beyoglu) and the Hippodrome area. Maybe stay away from the southern regions of Turkey near the Syrian border, like Urfa and Kurdish majority regions like Diyarbakir for now.

Ask your Embassy in the USA if anybody has had problems returning to the USA from Turkey.

Istanbullus are incredibly resilient people who don't faze easily. The city is huge - over 12 million people - so your chances of being a target are less than if visiting New York or Paris.
posted by zaelic at 12:39 AM on September 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Australian Government's advice for Istanbul is to "Think seriously about whether you need to travel here due to the high level of risk. If you do travel, do your research and take a range of extra safety precautions, including having contingency plans. Check that your travel insurer will cover you."

Its rating for Turkey overall is to 'exercise a high degree of caution due to the risk of terrorist attack'.

For what it's worth, it says the same thing about France.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:28 AM on September 7, 2017

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