This alert comes from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British
- There is a high threat from terrorism in Turkey. We believe that
international terrorist groups, as well as indigenous ones, are currently
active in Turkey. Further attacks, including in tourist areas, could well
occur. On 16 July 2005, an explosion on a minibus in the western Turkish
resort of Kusadasi killed five people including one British national;
five British nationals were also injured. On 11 July 2005, an explosion
in the coastal resort of Cesme, western Turkey, injured 20 people including
a British national.
- On 20 November 2003, terrorist attacks against the British Consulate-General
and the headquarters of HSBC in Istanbul caused 33 deaths and injured
several hundred. Since then, there have been a number of small-scale terrorist
incidents. Targets have included sites that are linked to Western (including
UK) interests as well as to the Turkish State.
- Outbreaks of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) have resulted in four deaths
in Eastern Turkey in January 2006. As a precaution, you should avoid live
animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into
contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure that poultry and
egg dishes are thoroughly cooked. For further information see the Health
section below and also read the FCO’s Avian
and Pandemic Influenza Factsheet
- We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical
insurance before travelling to Turkey. You should check any exclusions,
and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Please see: Travel
SAFETY AND SECURITY
There is a high threat from terrorism in Turkey. We believe that international
terrorist groups, as well as indigenous ones, are currently active in Turkey.
Further attacks, including in tourist areas, could well occur. On 16 July
2005, an explosion on a minibus in the western Turkish resort of Kusadasi
killed five people including one British national; five British nationals
were also injured. On 11 July 2005, an explosion in the coastal resort of
Cesme, western Turkey, injured 20 people including a British national.
On 20 November 2003, terrorist attacks (believed to have been committed
by individuals associated with Al-Qaida) against the British Consulate-General
and the headquarters of HSBC in Istanbul caused 33 deaths and injured hundreds.
On 15 November 2003, bomb attacks on two synagogues in Istanbul killed 23
people and wounded more than 300.
Since the November 2003 attacks, other terrorist groups have been responsible
for a number of devices exploding in locations across Turkey including in
Istanbul, Izmir, Mersin, Antalya, and Ankara. Whilst many were primarily
small scale in nature, some incidents resulted in fatalities. Targets included
sites, such as banks, restaurants and hotels, linked to Western interests
as well as to the Turkish state.
Examples of terrorist incidents include:
- On 15 March 2006, a device exploded outside a branch of the HSBC bank
in the south eastern city of Diyarbakir. One person is reported to have
- On 9 March 2006, a device exploded in Van, eastern Turkey. Three people
were killed and 19 were injured. No foreign nationals were involved.
- On 4 March 2006, an explosion near a police station in Izmir, on the
Aegean coast, damaged vehicles and buildings. Nobody was injured in the
- On 13 February 2006, there was an explosion in a supermarket in Istanbul’s
Bahcelievler district. 17 people were injured. No foreign nationals were
- On 9 February 2006, there was an explosion in a café in the Bayrampasa
district of central Istanbul. 14 people were injured. One died later.
No foreign nationals were involved.
- On 30 January 2006 a device exploded in the Turkish American Association
in Adana, southern Turkey. Five people were injured. No foreign nationals
- On 18 November 2005, a device exploded in a rubbish bin in the Beylikduzu
district of Istanbul. One person was killed and ten were injured. No foreign
nationals were involved.
- On 15 October 2005, a device exploded in a petrol station in the Maslak
area of Istanbul. Five people were injured. No foreign nationals were
- On 4 October 2005, one person was killed and seven were injured in an
explosion in the Caglayan area in Istanbul. No foreign nationals were
involved. The Turkish police have reported the device exploded unintentionally.
- On 19 September 2005, a small device exploded in Taksim Square in central
Istanbul. One person was injured. No foreign nationals were involved.
The same day, the security forces deactivated a bomb that was discovered
in front of a Police Station in Ankara.
- On 18 September 2005, there was an explosion on a bus travelling from
Adana to Antalya in southern Turkey. Two people were killed and 10 people
were injured. No foreign nationals were involved.
- On 14 August 2005, a small-scale device exploded near the entrance to
a shopping mall in the Bakirkoy district (European side) of Istanbul injuring
two people. No foreign nationals were involved.
- On 4 August 2005, a device exploded in the Pendik district (Asian side)
of Istanbul killing two people and injuring 4 others. No foreign nationals
- On 2 August 2005, two explosions in the coastal resort of Antalya, southern
Turkey, injured seven people.
- On 30 April 2005, a device exploded in Kusadasi, near Izmir. Five police
officers attending a suspicious package were injured. One later died in
Terrorist incidents in the south east of Turkey have increased during
2004-2005. Turkish military operations against the PKK/Kongra-Gel - a Kurdish
separatist terrorist organisation - continue. There is a need for increased
vigilance in the south east. Security forces continue to enforce restrictions
on movement in areas bordering Iraq. You risk arrest if you fail to comply
with these restrictions.
Street robbery and pickpocketing are common in the major tourist areas
of Istanbul. You should be wary of approaches from strangers offering to
change money or offering food and drink, which may be drugged.
A number of sexual assaults have been reported in coastal tourist areas
(eg Marmaris, Bodrum, Antalya, Izmir).
Turkey is a stable democracy. Demonstrations occur regularly in major
cities and should be avoided.
Security Forces continue to enforce restrictions upon movement in areas
bordering Iraq. You risk arrest if you fail to comply with these restrictions.
You should take particular care when travelling by road throughout Turkey,
as road conditions and driving standards can be poor. Serious traffic accidents
are common particularly at night.
For a stay of more than six months an international Driving Licence is
Do not drink and drive. The Police will breathalyse drunk drivers, fine
them on the spot (currently 340 New Turkish Lira) and immediately confiscate
their licence for six months.
On 21 December 2005, two trains collided between the Halkali and Sirkeci
surburbs of Istanbul. Fourteen people were injured.
On 23 November 2005, a train collided with a truck crossing the railway
line in Tarsus, near Adana in southern Turkey. Nine people were killed and
eighteen were injured.
On 22 July 2004, 38 people were killed and over 80 were injured when a high-speed
train derailed on the line between Istanbul and Ankara. No British nationals
were injured in any of these incidents.
LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
Turkey has strict laws against the use, possession or trafficking of
illegal drugs. If you are convicted of any of these offences, you can expect
to receive a heavy fine or a prison sentence of four to 24 years.
The export of antiquities is prohibited and carries a prison sentence
from five to ten years.
The use of metal detectors is against the law.
Dress modestly if visiting a mosque or a religious shrine.
Do not take photographs near military or official installations. You
should seek permission before photographing individuals.
Homosexuality is not illegal but is not widely tolerated: public displays
of affection could result in prosecution for public order offences.
It is an offence to insult the Turkish nation or the national flag, or
to deface or tear up currency.
A visa is required for British nationals to enter Turkey. British citizens
may obtain a multiple entry visitor's visa valid for 90 days at the port
of entry on payment of ten pounds sterling in cash (Scottish currency is
not accepted). If you are a BN(O) passport holder and you arrive at Istanbul
airport without a visa obtained from a Turkish mission abroad, you may be
refused entry to Turkey. For further information on entry requirements,
you should check with with: Turkish
representation in UK
Your passport should be valid for at least six months on entry into Turkey.
If you take employment without the appropriate permission, you may be
escorted from the country by the police authorities or, in some cases, deported.
If you overstay your visa you will receive a substantial fine upon departure.
This varies according to length of overstay: an overstay of one month currently
incurs a fine of 166 New Turkish Lira.
If a parent travels on his/her own with a dual national Turkish child,
written permission from the Turkish parent, certified by a notary, must
be shown to the immigration authorities on departure, otherwise the child
will not be permitted to leave Turkey.
Do not travel without comprehensive medical insurance (including cover
for medical repatriation), as private medical treatment is very expensive.
You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the
activities you want to undertake. Please see: Travel
. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which concerns
free medical treatment in EU countries is not valid in Turkey. The EHIC
has now replaced form E111.
If you visit rural areas you should ensure that inoculations are up to
The risk to humans from Avian Influenza is believed to be low.
However, as a precaution you should avoid visiting live animal markets,
poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with
domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of the possibility that
the Avian Influenza outbreaks could lead at some point to a human flu pandemic,
if the virus mutates to a form which is easily transmissable between people.
British nationals living longer term in Turkey should take personal responsibility
for their own safety in the event of a future pandemic, including considering
their access to adequate healthcare and ensuring travel documents are up
Many parts of Turkey lie on a major seismic fault line and are subject
to earthquakes and tremors. In eastern Turkey, an earthquake in May 2003,
measuring 6.4 on the Richter Scale resulted in over 150 deaths. Other recent
On 17 October 2005, three earthquakes measuring 5.6, 5.7 and 5.9 on the
Richter scale struck Izmir. Minor structural damage was reported, with 6
people sustaining injuries. On 21 October 2005 an earthquake measuring 5.9
on the Richter scale struck Izmir. Minor structural damage was reported
with 19 people sustaining injuries. Also on 21 October 2005 the seismic
Observatory in the district advised residents of Izmir that serious seismic
activity in the region will continue for some time.
On 6 June 2005 an earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale occurred
in Bingol province, south east Turkey. Initial reports indicate 46 people
were injured and several houses suffered structural damage, no fatalities
have been recorded.
On 25 January 2005 seven earthquakes measuring between 3.8 and 5.5 on
the Richter scale occurred in Hakkari City, south east Turkey. Reports indicate
two fatalities and 22 casualties with damage to approximately 80 buildings.
Avalanches in the Palandoken Mountains, Erzurum, northern Turkey, resulted
in the death of a British tourist in March 2004, and a Russian tourist on
2 February 2005. On 11 February 2006, an avalanche in the Aladaglar Mountains,
Nigde, central Turkey, resulted in the deaths of four mountaineers.
Residents or long term visitors should register with the Embassy/nearest
Consulate on arrival, but there is no need for short-term visitors to do
The British Embassy in Ankara, the Consulates in Istanbul, Izmir and
Antayla and Honorary Consulates in Bodrum and Marmaris can provide Emergency
Passport services. Full passport services are available at the British Embassy
in Ankara and the Consulate in Istanbul. Applications may be lodged, however,
at Izmir, Antayla, Bodrum, Marmaris and Fethiye.
ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas. Local currency
can also be obtained from banks and exchange bureaux, known as DOVIZ in
A new currency, known as the "New Turkish Lira" (YTL), was introduced
on 1 January 2005. The conversion was achieved by dropping six zeros off
the old existing Turkish lira and creating a sub-unit called the new kurus
(YKr). As of 1 January 2006 only the “New Turkish Lira” is legal tender
in Turkey though banks will continue to change old Turkish lira notes for
the new currency until the end of 2006.
It is illegal not to carry photograph ID in Turkey. It is therefore advisable
to carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times.
DISCLAIMER: Travel Turkey provides
links to web sites of interest to travelers in Turkey. We do not endorse or
verify the accuracy of information provided through these links or our pages.
Consumers should exercise caution and common sense when making any travel