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Anyone have recent trip reports from Istanbul and Ephesus

We will be in Turkey in a couple of weeks . . . whats the vibe? Do people seem nervous at all?

Posted by
1705 posts

I just returned from Turkey this week. I had a lot of hesitation before I went, but it did all work out okay. However, I was alert, aware and watching the news continuously while we traveled around. I cannot say I was always comfortable - I think the country is in an unusual place right now and, had I visited five or ten years ago, I might have had a different experience. I did not feel particularly welcome as an American...I think there is a fair amount of strife between what the Turkish government wants to do and what the US WANTS the Turkish government to do and even our tour guide said that the US should stay out of Turkish business (and I know his job prohibits statements like this, but he just feels so strongly that I think his feelings overwhelmed him and he made the statement).

I was particularly nervous about the continuing government changes over there. For example, the PM changed the standard for initiating a search or seizure one night while we were there, and the next morning they used this new law to take a journalist into custody for making statements the government didn't like. There were lots of university demonstrations while we were there....more liberal students vs. ISIL-supportive students and we saw riot police etc.

It all seemed like a country on the edge. There's a liberal element there, but a conservative one as well and the government seems to be growing increasingly conservative and autocratic. Just as we left the PM banned all makeup and jewelry in the schools.

So are you safe to go? I guess so. Our guide took good care of us, we avoided areas prone to protests in Istanbul and we did not wander off alone as we normally would. We did not go near the south...it sounds like you're not headed that way. Old Town Istanbul was just fine. We spend a couple of days on the Taksim side and that felt a little less safe. Taksim Square is fine until it's not fine, but there's riot police there nearly all the time. We walked through it once but did not linger.

Posted by
74 posts

thank you for your honest opinion! we will be on a cruise ship and so our time is limited there. . . but i also wonder at what point do cruise lines decide not to stop in places. we will also be watching the news closely. thanks again!

Posted by
552 posts

This report makes me sad...

Rick and his crew were just there in May for new episodes. I can't believe I miss the authoritarian stability of Saddam Hussein.

Posted by
1 posts

We did two weeks in Turkey in September - rented a car and drove along the Turquoise Coast for a week, Cappadocia, and four days in Istanbul. At no time did we feel unsafe. A few Turks we met in Istanbul made passing reference to the Syrian refugees in the cities, but it was more from irritation/impatience than fear.

I'm assuming you are a US Citizen - if so register with the State Dept's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and you will be notified if there is an emergency, etc. of which you need to be aware. At present they have issued no travel warnings for Turkey, whereas Mexico, by comparison, has a travel warning urging people to avoid certain parts of the country due to the risk of violent, organized crime.

Stick in the tourist-friendly areas and be aware of your surroundings as you would in any major city. Avoid going to areas where there are protests (if any occur) and watch out for pickpockets. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how great of a trip you have. Good luck!

Posted by
11613 posts

What does Saddam Hussein have to do with Turkey?

Posted by
552 posts

The Turkish travel worries are from spillover as the Islamic State bullies its way around just south of the border.

ISIS(L) is a Sunni entity which was precipitated by Bush's war, that rid an oppressed, but stable, region of its Sunni dictator, Saddam. The impossible task of maintaining a Shia led 'Democracy' in that region was never thought out by the short-sighted and inept, previous administration.

So now we're in this mess. And that's what's making us all worried that conservative Islamist 'vibes' will adversely effect our trip.