Turkey is a very popular destination among British travellers. Three years ago this suddenly changed, when a military coup took place. Tourists had second thoughts regarding travelling to Turkey, leading to a severe drop in tourism numbers for the country.
After the coup attempt, many travellers wondered whether Turkey was safe to travel to. While Istanbul took quite a hit with the number of tourists headed there, alternatives became more popular. This is because Turkey still remains a country with a very comfortable climate, beautiful beaches and plenty of sights to see. For instance, a large number of tourists headed to the Turkish coast, far removed from the political turmoil. Still, there are a number of things that each traveller would do well to keep in mind, to safely travel to Turkey. For instance, it is mandatory to apply for a Turkey visa to avoid any trouble with the authorities.
View of Istanbul, Turkey
How safe is Turkey?
These days, Turkey is relatively safe again. The Foreign Office does not give any special warnings for travellers headed that way. This means that everyone can freely travel to the Turkish resorts again without worry. Special warnings are only given out when there are clear signs of safety risks.
Most of Turkey is fit to go on a holiday to. Popular resorts such as Alanya and Antalya are perfectly safe to travel to. These areas have quickly returned to their old visitor numbers, in part because these places have strongly improved their security.
The Foreign Office does offer some pieces of general advice, including avoiding public gatherings. While Turkey no longer has a state of emergency, these gatherings can sometimes turn violent. Likewise, it is probably a good idea to refrain from making political statements on social media regarding Turkish politics. It is advised to refrain from politics in general, and to simply enjoy your holiday.
High risk areas
Turkey borders Syria, which makes some people question exactly how safe it is really is. Most holiday destinations in Turkey are far removed from the Syrian border and the south-east of Turkey. The south-east part of Turkey, along with the border area with Syria, is considered unsafe. This is mainly due to the civil war in Syria. Furthermore, tourists would do well to avoid the border with Iraq.
Plan your trip to Turkey well in advance. It is important to stay up to date on the current situation in the country. Always check the website of the government regarding travelling to Turkey. The travel advice on this website is updated daily.
While the state of emergency in Turkey was lifted in July 2018, various additional security measures and restrictions remain in place. Protests still occasionally take place, and these have been known to turn violent.
The situation in Turkey has substantially calmed down since the coup in 2016. The situation remains somewhat volatile, though. Avoid all demonstrations and other large-scale gatherings. Don’t try to get close to take pictures; weapons like tear gas can reach several hundred meters beyond their immediate landing place. If a protest begins to form around you, leave right away.
Turkey has been known to be slow to inform the British ambassador if a British national has been imprisoned. Remain alert throughout your stay in Turkey, and have several emergency contacts ready should you find yourself in an unfortunate situation.
Advice for travelling to Turkey with children
Both parents must grant permission to take a child to Turkey, for instance if a grandparent wants to take them along. This is to avoid cases of child abduction. Single parents might be subjected to extra scrutiny. The Turkish police might ask for additional proof. The Turkish embassy recommends single parents to always keep their permission slip ready.
All British tourists require a visa to travel to Turkey. This visa can be easily applied for online, and is mandatory for all tourists and business travellers. Underage children are also expected to possess their own visa. Without a valid visa, the Turkish immigration service will stop the traveller at the passport check in Turkey.
Applying for a Turkey visa takes no more than five minutes. It’s possible to apply for several people at once, though the price per person remains the same. This cost is €49,95 per person. Are you leaving for Turkey short term and forgot to apply for a visa? Submit an urgent application. Urgent applications are generally approved within 14 minutes.
Print the e-visa and take it with you on your trip to Turkey. It is permitted to present the visa on your phone or tablet at the passport check.