Update – July 2106 – If you have arrived here looking for information following the July 15th coup in Turkey, you should follow the advice of your government’s travel department. The reason being is that any holiday insurance policies can become invalid if your actions are in direct contrast to what your government is saying.
As of the 18th July, the USA has updated their policy to say…
“In light of the July 15 coup attempt and its aftermath, we suggest U.S. citizens reconsider travel to Turkey at this time. This replaces the Travel Warning dated June 27, 2016.” – Read more about that here
As of the 17th July, the UK Travel department updated their policy to say….
“The situation in Turkey appears to be calming following an attempted coup overnight on 15-16 July. The security environment, however, remains potentially volatile. Following earlier disruption, flights to and from airports in Turkey are returning to normal, although some disruption remains and you should check with your airline or tour operator before travelling.” Read more and stay up to date here
Update January 2016 – Dear readers, After the recent bomb in Sultanhamet Square, Istanbul, readers are asking if I have changed my mind regarding travelling in Turkey and I have not. My view is the same as before. Please read my thoughts written below over many years or read this article.
Update 30th of June 2015 – If you have arrived at this page because of the incident that happened in Tunisa, or you are concerned about ISIS and Syria, please take a look at this article instead, which talks about those concerns.
Update 15th June 2015. : If you have arrived at this page because of the stupid, fear mongering article printed by the Daily Express newspaper on June the 13th, please just ignore it. Even the British ambassador to Turkey has called it alarmist and inaccurate – Read more here
The British Embassy in the capital of Turkey called Ankara have also published this statement on their Facebook page.
Quote ” Despite recent media coverage, the travel advice for Turkey has not been significantly changed. Although we do advise against all but essential travel to areas near the Syrian border, the overall terrorist threat level in Turkey has remained unchanged for years. More than 2.5 million Britons visit the country every year and the overwhelming majority of visits are trouble free.“
Update :June 14th 2015: For some reason, there seems to be an increased amount of web traffic to this page. I am assuming that it is to do with ISIS.
The original article below actually refers to the Taksim riots of 2013 but if you are questioning whether it is safe to come to Turkey for a holiday in 2015, you might be interested in my other article which I have updated today.
Original Article about safety in Turkey for holidaymakers
For the past five days, I have woken up to many emails, Facebook messages, and comments on this blog. All of them are asking the same question.
Should I cancel my holiday to Turkey?
Will my family be safe?
The questions are all relating to the wave of demonstrations that have swept the country. Most images in the mainstream media show the Taksim area with demonstrators being tear-gassed or hit with water cannons and streets that have been vandalized or looted. It is easy for people who are not knowledgeable about the country to assume the same scene has been played out across the map.
The first thing to say is alarming amounts of the emails refer to riots. There is no denying that riots have taken place in some major cities however in many other places, there have been just peaceful demonstrations, nothing more.
It is also worth pointing out that the article published by the British Daily Mail is a complete load of bollocks. It is blindingly obvious they are playing with words to sell newspapers.
They keep repeating the following statement
“The Foreign Office has warned Britons to avoid all but essential travel to parts of Turkey”
The fact is the foreign office has displayed exactly the same warning for the last five years and the parts of Turkey they refer to are Hakkari, Sirnak, Siirt and Tunceli which have never been touristic destinations anyway.
When civil war broke out in Syria, they added to the warning to say avoid Akcakale and Ceylanpinar and all areas within 10km of Turkey’s border with Syria.
Their recent updated advice is simply…
“We advise British nationals to avoid all demonstrations”
So now, we have established the fact that the Daily Mail prints bollocks, it leads us to the question of what people should do?
Should You Cancel Your Holiday?
Well, I am not going to portray an image that everything is dandy fine here in Turkey. It is not. There are a lot of domestic factors that have led up to the current unrest in the country and to tell you about them all, would certainly take a lot of reading and involves delving into niches that this blog does not belong to.
If you do want to discuss the current situation, drop me an email and I will put you in contact with like-minded people who are knowledgeable about the country.
Re your holiday, Even though the country is going through a turbulent time, it is still business as normal for tourism. Hotels, bars, restaurants, and shops are still open. You will still be able to lie on the beach, visit local landmarks, historical sites, shop for souvenirs, or simply live it up in your favourite nightclub or bar.
I decided that there is no better proof than photographs so I took these yesterday afternoon, all within the space of an hour. They are from the coastal resort of Altinkum on the Aegean coast.
A Day in Altinkum
Around noon, I came across a demonstration. It was roughly 100 people marching up the high street. There was a lot of whistle blowing, clapping, and slogan chanting but there were no fights, no tear gas, and no water cannons. The police were directing traffic and cars were blowing their horns.
I jumped straight into a taxi and headed to the local historical landmark that is popular with tourists. They were wandering among the ruins. The Apollo temple was open for business, the same as it is every day.
We drove to third beach where people were swimming, sunbathing, sleeping, and eating in the local restaurants.
I then headed directly to the hub of the town; Altinkum main beach. Tourists were strolling along the promenade and businesses were handing out leaflets, same as they do every day.
After that, I went to the supermarket, had a couple of beers in a bar where holidaymakers and expats were watching the rugby. Then went back to my complex where my neighbours were sunbathing around the swimming pool and blah blah blah.
Do you get my point?
So that is Altinkum but what about other areas in Turkey?
Well, it is one huge country to keep track of and I have not got eyes everywhere but this is what other bloggers are saying
Mack from Antalya Central says on their Facebook page…
The trouble and violent protests in Antalya are centred around the ruling party’s headquarters, well away from tourist areas, although the central gathering point that has been always peaceful is the main square in Antalya centre. If you are coming on holiday, please dont be put off by these pictures, the violence is not aimed at foreigners or tourists, you are as welcome as ever.
Kalkan Turkish Local News said on their Facebook page...
The only thing that has really changed is that the FCO is advising people to avoid the demonstrations in cities. Common sense really. The rest of the advice is the same as before. Just to reiterate, Kalkan and surrounding areas are perfectly safe.
Turkeys for Life who are in Fethiye said on their blog…
You can never guarantee anyone’s safety at any given time and the last few days have changed nothing as far as your holiday is concerned. The same familiar faces, the beaches, the views, the bars and restaurants are all still here. And the risks to your safety are still the same – standing on sea urchins, sunstroke, stumbling from the bottom step of a bar after a few too many – are ones that immediately spring to mind.
POST EDIT : Alan a blogger from the Dalaman area says the following…
The hotspot area to avoid is Taksim in Istanbul and you can follow the Istanbul Trip Advisor experts on the forum here, to gain the latest news.
So many people will speak out if the country becomes unsafe for tourists. Those people include expat bloggers, travel companies with staff in many tourist areas and of course, your local embassy that also have personnel in major cities.
The people of Turkey are going through a turbulent time now, but that does not mean tourists will not receive the same 100% quality service that the Turkish hospitality industry excels at.
There is no need to cancel your holiday to Turkey.
We are open for business as normal.
Readers : If you have questions, please post them below. Please also use the comment form, if you have been in any area of Turkey throughout the last week and have information relevant to the discussion. You do not need a website for your comment to be submitted.