Turkey: Safe travels?
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Feb 23, 2013 9:08 PM Last Post By: melissajordan80
Sep 22, 2012 6:25 AM
Turkey: Safe travels?Hello there! My wife and I were planning to visit Turkey, but are now reconsidering due to the recent protests spreading throughout the middle East. I have also seen the following warnings (anti-American protests throughout Turkey) from the US Embassy below:
Can somebody please let us know the current situation and dangers against Americans visiting Turkey? If there are additional precautions or procedures we should take if we were to still go, please advise.
As for where we were planning to visit, we were planning to visit Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ankara and Izmir, mostly by buses.
Sep 22, 2012 6:29 AM
1I am recently back from Turkey. If you do not burn Koran or wave your flag right in front of a mosque you are perfectly safe. You will meet locals who live from tourism and will welcome you with open arms.
Sep 22, 2012 6:51 AM
Sep 22, 2012 8:39 AM
3Protesters at the protests in both Ankara and Istanbul barely reached 3 figure numbers.Yes,there is anger here about this issue but there is not the violent reaction we are seeing taking place in other muslim countries.Indeed the Prime Minister spoke out several days ago warning people not to go on the ramage saying that violence and endangering innocent lives was not the right response for muslims to make.
In addition as I have written frequently on here when the issue of safety has come up;Turkish people are very aware of world politics and can quickly differentiate between the citizens of a country and that country's governmental policies.They understand that not everyone agrees with them.Even during the Gulf wars,when dislike of the Bush regime was at it's height,US citizens who came here did not encounter hostility from Turkish people.
This matter is the same,they(Turks) are aware that a great number of Americans are also shocked by this film and think it was very wrong.
Come and don't worry.You only need to take the same common sense precautions you would anywhere in the world.Istanbul's Taksim Square is the venue for all manner of protest meetings on a regular basis.If you see crowd barriers going up and police controlling the area then you have fair warning some meeting or other will take place so move away from there,don't linger nosying to see what's happening.
Most governments have 'cover their ass' warnings on them about some place or other.
I personally know of at least one American forum member(a mature traveller) who is in Istanbul right now,has been for a few days,is having a ball and has been bowled over by the friendliness and warm welcome he has received from everyone.Tomorrow night he is off to see a Galatasaray football match :)
Sep 22, 2012 2:20 PM
4First of all, thank you all for all of your great posts. It's great to hear that in general Turkish people are so welcoming to foreigners as that was one of our key reasons for visiting Turkey.
However, most of the posts appear geared towards Istanbul and Ankara. Would the same general advice and recommendations also apply to areas in and around Izmir and Cappadocia?
Sep 22, 2012 10:59 PM
5Yes,even more so.Generally any belligerent behaviour is to be found in Istanbul or out side the relevant embassies in Ankara.In smaller rural places people are too busy living their lives and feeding their families to go on protest marches.
You're correct,by and large Turkish people are very welcoming,warm and helpful to foreign visitors and this is something they are well known for.Bear in mind though that they are people just like people the world over when approached in a friendly polite manner they will respond in kind(and then some!)when approached rudely then the reaction will be different-just like the rest of us I guess!
Sep 23, 2012 7:41 AM
Sep 24, 2012 7:14 AM
7The Hobbit was raised in the United States and then married a Turkish woman and has lived here for the last 12+ years. I have NEVER encountered hostility from Turkish people. I did encounter hostility from people in the US when I returned for a visit after 9/11. They could not understand why I enjoyed and wanted to live in a "Muslim" country.
I also receive the "nut grams" from the Embassy and Istanbul Consulate. Forgive and forget the seige mentality of those people, their warnings have never been more than a source of amusement for me since I have lived here. I always thought it was interesting that these messages were from "the warden." A title usually given to the administrator of a prison, aptly named I believe...
sarıkanarya has given you good advice. Anytime you see a large group of black helmeted police gathering with shields and sticks, remove yourself from the immediate area lest you get swept up in the "excitement." That usually only happens in Istanbul or Ankara...
Most certainly any tourist location you visit will be a source of hospitality. But even off the beaten path you will simply be amazed. ALL the Americans I have ever met who come to Turkey say "I never realized it woudl be like this." (A compliment...)
Come to Turkey, be polite, drink tea with anyone who offers it, even carpet salesmen, do not be afraid to ask questions and know that you may also be asked questions that, on occasion, you might consider personal.
Sep 26, 2012 8:22 AM
8You americans have a serious problem. You are just too afraid of everything. When I was young I travelled with my mother in Norway and we met an american and he was afraid of going to Sweden because it was close to the Soviet Union. Turkey is an amazing country, people are very friendly, including any muslim. You won´t have any specific problem for being american. Just go there and enjoy. The problems in other middle east countries do not affect Turkey untill now, at least not for the traveller. It could obviously change if you government decides to invade Syria and do a war on Iran.
Sep 26, 2012 9:11 AM
Oct 2, 2012 1:44 PM
10The hobbittr has it right, and indeed the question I asked was really out of caution than out of fear. It's really hard to know what it's REALLY like to be on the ground, and it's great that the Lonely Planet gives us this forum for the community to give honest and straightforward suggestions and comments.
Thanks to all who replied on this thread. We will be checking out Bodrum, Cappadocia, and Istanbul...And then it's on to wherever our travels may lead us in Turkey.
Oct 2, 2012 1:48 PM
11hobbittr, you have a lot of time to waste I see.
I am very aware about the problems for Turkey, their governmnet and their people but it doesn´t affect the traveller and you might correct me again if you want, this is a traveller forum.
Oct 3, 2012 3:53 AM
Jan 17, 2013 8:53 PM
13Just in case anyone reads this, since the LP TT purge last week, some odd treads. Please see the trip report from Dec 1 for my wife and I (Americans), safety/security was not more or less that anywhere else we have been in EU. Also, since Jan, The US Military has places Patriot Anti Missle batteries on the the southern border with Syria...no worries, its not even a factor.
Jan 17, 2013 8:53 PM
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