With recent unrest in both Turkey and other countries, you may be wondering if it is still safe to travel to Turkey. While caution is always advisable when traveling to any foreign country, rest assured that it is indeed safe to visit Turkey. Here are six reasons why.
1. United States, British and Canadian Government Policies
When the governments of the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) or Canada think traveling to certain areas is ill advised, they issue travel warnings or even restrictions. Currently, the only recommendations from these three nations is to avoid the border between Turkey and Syria, due to war in the latter country.
The UK Foreign Office has reported that over 2.5 million British nationals have no problems during their visits to Turkey each year. The US State Department only suggests exercising the same precautions in Istanbul as law enforcement agencies advise for big American cities like New York and Los Angeles.
2. The Nature of Most Crime in Turkey
It is reported that Turkey, including Istanbul, is generally quite safe, apart from the 10 kilometers or so near the Syrian border. The nature of crime in Turkey is usually more of a monetary type, so travelers are simply advised to be on alert for pickpockets and confidence schemes.
3. Statistics About Violent Crimes
Statistically speaking, violent crimes, including terrorist acts, are unlikely to be experienced by most people. In most cases, you would have a better chance of being struck by lightning, being attacked by a shark or winning the lottery.
Unfortunate events like 9/11 or the Boston Marathon Tragedy happen all over the world. The problem is that most news is sensationalized. It is easy to think that it's easy to be in exactly the wrong place at precisely the wrong time.
4. Control Over Your Whereabouts
While traveling in Turkey be aware of your whereabouts. Don't become involved in political demonstrations or protests, and if you see a crowd forming, head the other way. You can even elect to visit popular attractions during less busy hours, so you won't be caught in throngs of tourists. You can enjoy a wonderful visit to Turkey without attending any major events or festivals if you choose.
5. Increased Security in Turkey
Because of global acts of terrorism, isolated incidents in Turkey and the war in Syria, security in Turkey has increased considerably. It is much harder for major crimes to be committed now due to this vigilance.
US State Department Registration
When you travel to Turkey, you can stay abreast of any changes regarding the threat level there through the US State Department. When you join their Safe Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), American diplomats in Turkey will have your contact information. Should a dangerous situation arise, you can make a decision about your travel based on the highest level of information, not media hype.