Is it Safe to Travel to Turkey in 2020? Things to Watch Out For in Turkey

How Safe to Travel to Turkey is it for Foreigners in 2020?

How safe to travel to Turkey is it? This is the question most travelers are trying to get answers for.

Most people who want to travel to Turkey including students and tourists had avoided Turkey following the terrorist occurrences which took place over three years ago. However, all that is hopefully in the past because there has been no major incident being reported in Turkey for some years now apart from for warlike events near the border with Syria.

In terms of Tourism, Turkey is still in its recuperation period.

However, the United Kingdom government has warned that the increasing tensions across the Middle East indicate that British tourists in Turkey may encounter terror attacks. Foreigners in Turkey have been warned to remain vigilant, while avoiding festivals and other forms of social gatherings.

This warning is coming from the UK Foreign and Commenwealth Office (FCO), amid apprehensions that Westerners may be under attack following the US assassination of General Qasem Soleimani of Iran.

The UK FCO cautioned tourists in Turkey not to tour to places in close proximity to Turkey border with Syria and Iraq. One of the major destinations that tourists has been warned to avoid is the ancient city of Kilis, Tunceli, and the provinces of Diyarbakir.

Tourism in Turkey has been trying to recover following a break down caused by extensive political uproar.

However, current figures as reported by a Turkish newspaper, Daily Sabah, revealed that about 43 million foreigners travelled to Turkey shores in the first 11 months of last year. The paper reported that out of this number, Britons made up about 2.3 million visits on yearly basis.

However, most people are asking how safe to travel to Turkey is it following the current military issue.

Let’s look at the safety level of the major cities in Turkey.

How Safe to Travel to Turkey is it? – Places You Can Visit and Where to Avoid in Turkey

Ankara and Istanbul

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, and the FCO has advised that this city is considered safe for tourist to travel to. However, the department cautions that tourists should still be on the alert to avoid the risks of being caught up in civil conflict or a terrorist attack.

According to FCO most terrorist attacks occurred in Ankara and Istanbul but advised that terrorist attacks may not likely occur at tourist hotspots, but at are most likely to target the Turkish state, civilians and demonstration. However, it’s possible that some terrorist attacks may target western interests and tourists from western countries.

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Eastern Turkey

Eastern Turkey is the least politically stable area of Turkey and has been placed off-limits by Turkey’s military operations. Eastern Turkey has been unsafe for travelers for years now. The FCO has cautioned against all but essential travel to the provinces of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis, Hatay, Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari, and against all travel to within six miles of the borders with Syria and Iraq, as well as to the city of Diyarbakir. The Eastern Turkey has experienced cases of car bombs, improvised explosive devices, roadblocks, kidnappings, suicide bombings, shootings, and violent demonstrations.

Central Turkey

Central Turkey has been experiencing an increase in tourism in the years leading up to 2015 regardless of its solitude and weaker infrastructure. Most tourists travel to the ancient region of Cappadocia, which is renowned for its remarkable rock formations and cave hotels. The FCO considers Central Turkey safe for tourists and visitors. There aren’t even any warnings in place for this part of Turkey.

Western Turkey and the Riviera

The Turkish Riviera is located in the west of Turkey. This area is characterized by a stretch of coastline where you can find some of the deluxe beaches in Europe, making it one of the most commonly visited areas in Turkey. Most of the terror attacks in the past took place in cities that is situated away from the coastal areas where tourists are, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The FCO stated that coastal resorts where most of British tourists go are safe and are mostly not affected by terrorist attacks.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Restrictions in Turkey October, 2020

The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affected the economy of the entire globe, causing everything to come to a standstill, including international flights. However, Turkey has joined the rest of the world to open her air, land, and sea borders to foreigners who are able to meet the immigration rules and regulations of Turkey.

International commercial flights of different countries are gradually relaxing their lockdown measures and resuming activities based on the organization with the Ministry of Health.

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Before boarding a flight to Turkey, all airline passengers must wear face masks, complete passenger locator forms that would be provided by the airline. Passengers are also expected to carry out COVID-19 screening upon arrival. Temperature checks will be conducted during the screening and anyone with COVID-19 symptoms will have to do a PCR test.

What to Expect while Traveling around Turkey

The Turkish Government, like every other nation that has been affected by coronavirus endemic, has introduced measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, and while some restrictions may be relaxed, they could be also be reintroduced with little notice.

The Government of Turkey has made it compulsory to wear a face mask every time you are outside your home, and this started since September, it is mandatory to wear a face mask at all times outside the home. Also, depending on where you are travelling to, Turkey comprises of 81 provinces, and each province comes with different rules in place. So, if you are a Tourist in Turkey, it is advisable to check the updates before crossing district or province borders.

To further cut down the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 in Turkey, there are capacity limits on public transport to ensure passengers adhere to the guiding principle of the social distancing.

Also, it is vital to note that Turkish citizens and residents must obtain an HES (Hayat Eve Sığar) code for international and domestic travel, including flights, train and ferry travel. However, this HES code does not apply to foreigners.

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In Conclusion

Turkey is the world’s sixth most popular tourism destination, at least until a few years ago. So, on how safe to travel to Turkey is it for foreigners, there can be no complete guarantee on safety irrespective of where you travel to. Loads of factors play a role in determining your safety in where you travel to in the world.

People still travel to Turkey, including Americans. However, single males in Istanbul may not receive a warm welcome.


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