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Concern about safety in Turkey

Several cautions have come out recently regarding terrorist threats in Turkey. How does Rick Steves decide if tours should be cancelled? We are scheduled for Turkey in March.

Posted by
346 posts

You should contact RS tours (here it’s just fellow travelers) and get info on when a threat or situation will cancel a tour since you’re talking about their tours specifically.

Posted by
6792 posts

I won't begin to speak for the RS organization, they certainly monitor it, will make decisions, they ceased travel to Russia (St. Petersburg), so they must have some process.

As for Turkey, all I can suggest is to read the alerts. Keep in mind that Turkey is a large country, the situation near the border with Syria, Iran, and now Armenia is probably more of a concern, but the tour does not (I believe) go anywhere near those places.

State department alerts, while informative, always seem to be a bit excessive. I know when I traveled for business, every trip I would get a long email about all the terrible things in a country, and I only went to very safe places. If it helps, at the moment, Turkey is at a Level 2, the same as Italy and most every country in Europe.

Posted by
15 posts

I just came back from the 7 day Istanbul tour, which took place a week after the bombing. The day after, they sent this email...

"We are reaching out to you to address yesterday’s bombing in Istanbul. As a tour operator, we always exercise the utmost caution in where and how we travel. Travelers trust us to make informed, level-headed decisions about travel risks and rewards, and it's a responsibility we take very seriously. Moreover, we would never send you or our guides to a dangerous place. If an incident were to occur anywhere on our itinerary, we would carefully assess the situation before proceeding, taking stock of official reports as well as checking with our contacts on the ground in the location in question.

As we travel anywhere it is important for all of us to keep in mind that situations like the Istanbul attack which have the potential to derail our travel plans are usually rare and very localized events. As scary and terrible as these events can be, they do not compel us to change our approach to travel. If anything, they reinforce our belief that travel helps us better understand our world and is a force for peace and understanding. We will continue to keep on top of security issues everywhere we travel. Security in Istanbul has been reinforced since the attack, and our guides are very skilled at coming up with alternate plans and working with our drivers to find alternate routes if the situation warrants change.

At this point, we see no reason to change our belief that Turkey is a safe and rewarding travel destination. Please let us know if we can answer any more questions or be of any further assistance."

Posted by
158 posts

I was in Istanbul two days before the terrorist attack. I would suggest not being overly concerned for those who live in the USA. Generally, you will find the cities of western Turkey quite safe. I never felt unsafe there and probably felt safer than I would in my own large city in the USA.