Turkey Travel Warning

The U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria would like to draw your attention to the latest Turkey Travel Warning issued by the U.S. Department of State on October 24, 2016 and to the security message issued by the Consulate General in Istanbul on October 22, 2016.

Turkey Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey.  U.S. citizens should avoid travel to southeast Turkey and carefully consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country.  The U.S. Department of State is updating this Travel Warning to reflect recent threat reporting cited in the Turkish media and to advise on the ban on demonstrations in Ankara province.  This replaces the Travel Warning dated September 23, 2016.

U.S. citizens should still carefully consider the need to travel to Turkey at this time.  The Governor of Ankara, acting under the authority of the recently-extended state of emergency, and on the basis of reported terrorist threats against cities in Turkey, has banned all demonstrations in Ankara province until November 30.  The Department continues to monitor the effects of the ongoing State of Emergency; recent terrorist incidents in Ankara, Istanbul, Gaziantep, and throughout the Southeast; recurring threats; visible increases in police or military activities; and the potential for restrictions on movement as they relate to the safety and well-being of U.S. citizens in Turkey.  Delays or denial  of consular access to U.S. citizens detained or arrested by security forces, some of whom also possess Turkish citizenship, continue.

Foreign and U.S. tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organizations in Turkey.  In the past year, extremists have carried out attacks in France, Belgium, Germany, Mali, Bangladesh, Tunisia,  and Turkey.  Additional attacks in Turkey at major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers, places of worship, and transportation hubs, including aviation services, metros, buses, bridges, bus terminals and sea transport, could occur.  Extremists have also threatened to kidnap and assassinate Westerners and U.S. citizens.  U.S. citizens are reminded to review personal security plans, monitor local news for breaking events, and remain vigilant at all times.

U.S. Government personnel in Turkey remain subject to travel restrictions in the southeastern provinces of Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, and Elazig.  In particular, the U.S. Mission to Turkey may prohibit movements by its personnel to these areas on short notice for security reasons, including threats and demonstrations.  Due to recent acts of violence, such as the August 20 suicide bombing in Gaziantep, the September 12 bombing in Van, and the potential for reprisal attacks due to continued Turkish military activity in Syria, U.S. citizens are urged to defer travel to large, urban centers near the Turkish/Syrian border.  Finally, the Government of Turkey has closed its border with Syria.  Border crossings from Syria into Turkey are prohibited, even if the traveler entered Syria from Turkey.  Individuals seeking emergency medical treatment or safety from immediate danger are assessed on a case by case basis.

For your safety:

  • Avoid travel to southeastern Turkey, in particular large, urban centers near the Turkish/Syrian border.
  • Stay away from large crowds, including at popular tourist destinations.
  • Exercise heightened vigilance and caution when visiting public areas, especially those heavily frequented by tourists.
  • Stay away from political gatherings and rallies.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities in an emergency.
  • Stay at hotels with identifiable security measures in place.
  • Monitor local media.

Consulate General in Istanbul Security Message

The U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul advises U.S. citizens that extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to attack Americans and/or other foreigners in Istanbul. These attacks may be pre-planned or could occur with little or no warning, and include, but are not limited to: armed attack, attempted kidnapping, bombing, or other violent acts. The Consulate General advises U.S. citizens residing in or visiting Istanbul to review and update their personal security practices when traveling to locations where westerners are known to frequent or reside. U.S. citizens should also exercise increased vigilance and caution in areas easily accessible to the general public.

For further detailed information regarding Turkey and travel: