Safety and Security: Travel Advice for Turkey

safety security turkey

After a period of unrest, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has lifted multiple warnings on visiting Turkey that were in place for the past few years. However, you may still be wondering: “is Turkey a safe place to visit?”.

The truth is that a vast majority of holidays in Turkey are trouble free. Nevertheless, visitors are advised to pay attention to their surroundings and practice common sense precautions, just as they would when visiting any major city around the world.

How Safe Is Turkey?

Things have calmed down in Turkey, and the country’s most popular tourist destinations, including Antalya, Cappadocia, and Istanbul are generally safe. Nevertheless, travelers still need to remain vigilant.

For instance, tourists visiting any major attractions around the world, including those in Turkey, are advised to keep an eye on their belongings, to avoid street robbery and pickpocketing.

This simple piece of advice will keep you safe anywhere around the world, including Turkey.

Is Turkey Safe to Visit?

Turkey is generally safe to visit. The country remains one of the most popular tourist destinations around the globe with millions of foreign visitors vacationing there year after year.

Tourism is raising again as the government takes action making sure the country is safe for visitors. Rest assured you will be a priority for Turkish people when you visit, as tourism is a major part of the country’s economy.

Is It Safe to Visit Turkey Right Now?

At this moment in time, vacationing in Turkey is pretty safe. Terrorism has calmed down over the past few years, nevertheless make sure not to get involved in protests.

The safety concerns you need to be mindful of are pickpockets and scams, as in any major tourist area in the world.

Is It Safe to Travel Alone to Turkey?

Locals are warm and welcoming in Turkey and will do everything they can to help you feel at home during your stay. Whether you are a man or a woman traveling solo to Turkey, here are a few recommendations on staying safe:

  • Book a group tour or excursion with an agency or through your hotel, avoid people offering tours in the street
  • Do not mention that you are traveling alone
  • Buy a pre-paid phone line at the airport so you can stay in touch with family, phone your hotel or check maps when out and about
  • Keep your alcohol intake to a minimum
  • Avoid going out alone after dark
  • Beware of scams, especially strangers inviting you for a drink, just say “no” politely and firmly

Is Turkey Safe for a Family Vacation?

Life in Turkey is very family friendly and locals love children. Turkey is safe to travel for families, and family tourists bring business to the country so it is a priority to make tourists feel safe when visiting.

To ensure you have an amazing time with your little ones, have a look at the following tips:

  • Breastfeeding in public is uncommon in Turkey, so do so discreetly
  • Keep you kids covered in sunscreen and well hydrated
  • Take a baby wrap or carrier rather than a stroller if you have a baby since not all streets have pavements
  • Teach your little ones not to pet dogs since some may not be safe

Expert Recommendations to Stay Safe in Turkey

The following safety tips for traveling to Turkey will also help you stay safe regardless of your travel destination:

  • Avoid public displays of affection since they are considered offensive in Turkey
  • Be careful what you photograph since it is against the law to take pictures of certain government buildings and military facilities
  • Be wary of scams
  • Carry toilet paper or tissues on you since some bathrooms may lack these basic items
  • Cover your legs and shoulders when visiting a mosque, wear a scarf around your head if you are a woman
  • Do not drink and drive since any amount of alcohol found if stopped by authorities while driving results in a fine and a 6-month license confiscation
  • Do not wear fancy jewelry
  • Dress conservatively
  • Drink plenty of bottled water (tap water isn’t safe to drink) to stay hydrated on hotter days
  • Eat in restaurants and make sure your food is thoroughly cooked
  • Ensure you are up to date by watching the news
  • Keep an eye on your belongings especially in tourist areas
  • Keep your cash concealed by wearing a money belt, or infinity scarf with a hidden zipper to avoid being pickpocketed
  • Keep your hotel name, address and phone number on hand, in case you get lost
  • Learn to haggle, prices are usually inflated so offer half, as a start
  • Protect yourself against mosquito bites with DEET repellent, or long sleeve shirts and trousers (in light fabric, if the weather is hot)
  • Refrain from commenting negatively on the Turkish government, since censorship is common in Turkey and criticism is considered a crime
  • Resist the temptation of petting stray dogs since rabies can be quite common
  • Skip the following areas when visiting Turkey: Any areas within 10 kilometers of the Syrian border, Diyarbakir, Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis, Hatay, Tunceli, Hakari
  • Stay away from drugs since they are illegal and punished with prison in Turkey
  • Steer clear of political events or religious celebrations
  • Try not to eat in public during Ramadan, since most locals will be fasting
  • Wear sunscreen since the sun is pretty strong in Turkey

Additional Travel Advice for Vacations in Turkey

Traveling around Turkey’s most popular cities, including Istanbul, the bridge between east and west, and Turkey’s cosmopolitan capital city of Ankara are mostly safe.

Istanbul’s New Airport offers countless advantages to travelers from around the globe and is expected to soon become the world’s largest transit hub.

Whether you are visiting Turkey for transit purposes, leisure, or tourism, make sure to check out whether you are eligible for a Turkish online visa. Applying online is quick and easy, and most online applications for a Turkey eVisa are approved within 24 hours.