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Getting kind of nervous about my departure for Turkey next week. What do you all think?

I have been watching developments in Turkey for the last few months and it seemed ok for travel. But after the last two weeks, and then especially after the bombing last night in Syria, I am starting to have some doubts. The Turkish Prime Minister said this today: "Turkey’s government has announced that it will expand the scope of motions authorizing the army to conduct cross-border operations into Iraq and Syria, amid the threat posed by extremist jihadists that have begun to affect the country’s national security."

Should I be concerned? I would really appreciate input. We're doing the typical Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Cappadocia bus tour.

Posted by
21213 posts

The greatest risk to your personal safety will be the trip to and from the airport. And that doesn't bother you one bit 'cause it is part of living. Turkey is very protective of their tourist business so I doubt if their is much risk unless, of course, you want to see the Syria border. Go and enjoy your trip. Your friends will be impressed at how brave you are.

Posted by
9110 posts

Hmmm....

Sounds like the border crossings are going to be southbound rather than the reverse.

Turkey has enough goods to mount an invasion. The buttheads don't.

Things, sadly, have been going boom in Syria for a couple if years. If the Syrians drug their few cannons right up to the border, max range is about fifteen miles if the winds and ambients are perfect. Maybe draw a line at twenty miles -- but there ain't much down there of general tourist interest anyway.

Posted by
388 posts

I agree with the other posters. Most likely you wont be anywhere near Syria so I wouldn't worry too much about it. Turkey in general is pretty safe and as mentioned earlier, Turkey protects its tourist industry. Have a good time. Its always good to keep an eye on state travel advisories in the meantime.

Posted by
1994 posts

Most tour agencies are good about knowing dangerous areas and keeping you out of them. However, a surprise is always possible, anywhere. It all comes down to a calculated risk/benefit assessment.

I traveled in Egypt late in the 2nd Gulf War and took a couple of precautions that made me feel more comfortable. I took more than enough enough cash, in US dollars, to buy a full fare ticket from Egypt to Europe, in case I needed to get out quickly. I also made sure I had addresses and phone numbers of US embassies/consulates in areas I was visiting. If I were doing it today, I would also bring a cell phone. And FYI, that was my most enjoyable trip to Egypt -- because of the small number of tourists.

Good luck in making a difficult decision.

Posted by
1994 posts

One other point: the US government (State Department, I believe) has a notification/alert system in place. I don't remember the name, but it was prominently featured on their website. You can register on line. Bringing a smart phone or tablet so you have east internet access would be a good idea.

Posted by
338 posts

I'll add one more voice to the crowd. In my experience Turkey is a safe country except historically for the far southeast and more recently immediately along the Syrian border. Everywhere you mention is far from the Syrian border and far from the southeastern part of the country. Even in those areas, the risk isn't from terrorists attacking westerners, but from getting caught up in internal or regional conflicts. I say go and have fun.

Posted by
1959 posts

Thanks for all the replies - they help a lot! I had already planned to register with the Smart Traveler program for the first time ever! It does seem that all of the actual fighting is in the south. I think I had just started thinking there might a lot of strife with the 100k, 200k or more influx of people from Syria, the call from newly-bombed ISIL to target Americans, possible response to the bombings etc. But, barring further deterioration, the trip's all paid for and I am mostly packed, so I guess we'll give it a go:)

Posted by
5638 posts

Statically speaking driving to and from SeaTac is more dangerous than Istanbul. GO. Have fun. Mesmerizing country.

Posted by
4 posts

I was just having the same debate for our trip to Turkey next month. I spoke with a coworker who travels to Turkey twice a year (and has been doing so for 30 years), and he indicated that it will be fine, especially as we are going nowhere near the Syrian border (same route as you). He was enthusiastic about the positive ways in which the Turks treat American tourists, and gave full-hearted encouragement to go on the trip.
That being said, I have decided to get travel insurance which includes terrorist threat. I doubt we will need it, but should one of the cities on our tour be placed at risk causing cancellation or shortening of the trip we won't lose the cost of our trip (as well as coverage for lots of other important things). Lots of travel insurance offer this, just look around at a few sites and you can easily find something that will work for you.
Good luck on your trip! Now that we have decided to go ahead with our trip we can't wait!

Posted by
9110 posts

Statically speaking driving to and from SeaTac is more dangerous than Istanbul.

Please site source/s for statement including type/s of danger.

Posted by
14333 posts

Last year I told someone in Chicago that I was planning a trip to Turkey in the fall. She asked if I wasn't nervous about being so close to Syria. I thought for a moment about the geography and realized that I live a lot closer to the Syrian border than anywhere I would be visiting in Turkey. I was in all the places you're going to and had a wonderful time. Relax and enjoy!

Posted by
74 posts

when are you going? we are going on a cruise and it will be stopping in istanbul and ephesus mid November. . . i would love your input on how you felt there. we are taking our children and definitely wont be if things get much worse.

Posted by
3527 posts

So the distance from Istanbul to where most of the action is amounts to about 1200 km or about 745 miles. That's roughly the same as from El Paso to Houston or from Chicago to Philadelphia or from Tacoma to the Bay Area of CA. I don't know if that's comforting or not. We'll be on the RS Istanbul tour starting 10/5. Things will have to go tango uniform really quickly between now and when we leave to keep us from going, and I trust the judgement of the RS staff to make the right decisions if that happens. We still plan to spend a few weeks in Greece after the tour week. Supposedly, our trip insurance will cover any potential disruptions, she said naively.

Posted by
74 posts

Lo- i would love to hear your feelings when you get back too!

p.s. we live in sahuarita, i just havent changed my info on here. :)

Posted by
12388 posts

I spent a few days in Istanbul in June. First of all I wasn’t terribly impressed but everyone’s taste is different and you might just love it. I guess seeing women holding that position in life, the crowds and the aggressive salesmanship was just more than I could take. But I think I am probably in the minority among those that have actually been to Istanbul.

Since having returned I have come to understand that the current leadership of Turkey is pretty fundamentalist and not exactly unfriendly to various terrorist groups. That doesn’t make me feel too good about having gone and helped out the economy by spending my tourist bucks. Now with the US re-involved in the region I think US and Europeans are going to be a more high profile target. I’m not worried about the Syria conflict crossing the borders as much as the nut who knows the hotel where the Americans like to stay or the restaurant where evil alcohol is sold to evil infidels. If we had one nut in Oklahoma, just imagine how many nuts must be walking the streets of Istanbul.

Still, to be honest it is the political and cultural issues that would make me turn down a free ticket and not the safety issue. I was recently in Israel and I have a trip planned to Ukraine so I, in my own mind at least, don’t shrink away for some level of risk. I just think it’s sort of irresponsible to flirt around the room saying that there is nothing to be concerned about. That’s just plain wrong. And this is fluid so it has nothing to do with the situation 6 months ago, much less 2 years ago.

AND, notice I didn't say I think its too dangerous or not to go. I just gave you my honest interpretation of the subject. There really isn't a right or wrong decision at the moment.