We leave for Turkey on September 8, 2015 with Gate1Travel tour. We have a friend who lives in Istanbul so are flying in two days before trip starts. He says now he is afraid to show us around as he is handicapped and would be stampeded in the event of "trouble". He says he is even afraid to go to the grocery store!! Another couple we were to travel with has cancelled their trip due to the violence over there. What should we do? Any advice?
Treat your friend to dinner at his/her favorite local restaurant as thanks for showing you around, and be patient with his/her limitations.
Be ready to entertain yourselves in Istanbul (i.e. do some research and strike out on your own if your friend cannot join you) - it's a fantastic city with plenty to do, so pick any number of sites/ areas to see that won't be covered in your tour. I have a stopover there in September and can't wait to be back.
It may help to keep in mind that your chance of getting hurt in an auto accident is considerably greater than a terrorist attack, especially in a dense city of 13 million.
I'm with Agnes on this one. It is a magical and amazing city and I would still go. In fact, I was just there in May around election time and everything was fine. I am sure if there would have been protests they would have been (most likely) in a particular square and probably could have avoided them. Keep yourself updated regularly with the news but I would still go. I went alone in May and never felt unsafe (almost to my surprise).
If you are leaving from IST on the way back, allow PLENTY of time for the airport. The security is tight and you have to queue many times. E.g. As soon as you step inside you have to have your lugguage go through some security check. (even before checking in or making it to your airlines counter). Then, I checked in and right before was asked questions about my lugguages. Then came passport control and security I think. And then, more questioning and handing out the passport at the gate itself. Some passengers did get search even at the gate.
I'm going solo in November and the shootings outside the U.S. consulate last week, combined with the Americans who were accosted outside the Spice Market a few months back, had me concerned.
However, I then think about the thousands of American, Canadian, Aussies, and western Europeans who visit Istanbul every single day without incident and realize that I'll be fine. I won't be wandering off anywhere untoward at night, and I figure Sultanhamet, where I'm staying, is pretty safe. I've heard the Theodosian walls area can be a bit dicey, so I'm doing a group tour of that area. Of course, one must always be vigilant about pickpockets in large densely populated cities. Otherwise, I'm sure Istanbul is far safer than most American cities.
I will say this, though: take the U.S. State departments advisories for Turkey with a grain of salt. We need a strong relationship with Turkey so we can use their air bases, and issuing travel warnings is not something Turkey would be happy about. Istanbul is one of the most visited cities in the world and the country needs that tourist revenue. Better to check and see if Canada has issued any alerts or warnings, which I don't think it has.
We are Canadians watching the travel alerts as we are leaving for Turkey in three weeks for a month. It was suggested on this forum Deb that you look at the Canadian travel alert site for warnings. I would suggest checking out the Australian and or New Zealand government sites as they are much more comprehensive than ours. They detail what the recent incidents have been in Turkey and where they have occurred. This is our first trip to Turkey and we have planned it all on our own. Friends think we are nuts but unless things really escalate we are not too concerned.
I'm visiting Istanbul the first week of October and starting to get a bit nervous. I am not a fearful traveler but the issues seem to be escalating. I received another email from the US State Department about a shooting outside of the US Consulate today.
Now we are considering changing our travel plans but are really unsure about what to do. At what point do you decide that the risk is not worth the reward? I am confident that we would be perfectly safe in Istanbul but I also do not want to have that worry in the back of my mind the entire time.
I will be leaving for Europe on September 8 and want to get our plans for Istanbul finalized before we leave. We are considering going to a different destination instead but I do not want to make a rash decision out of unfounded fear. Any advice or words of wisdom would be appreciated!!
We too will be in Istanbul beginning of October. We are not going to change our plans over this. As you may have seen today, one could easily have been part of a mass slaughter riding a Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris.
My wife and I just returned from Istanbul last week. The day we arrived there was a small bombing at the Dolmabahce Palace, which was not too far from where we were staying, and still I never felt unsafe while we were there. Like any major city or any foreign country, you have to be smart and take reasonable precautions when there. But there are 14 million people living, working and going to school in Istanbul every day, and the vast majority do so without incident.
You have to do whatever is right for you, but my take is that Istanbul is a phenomenal city and an amazing experience and it would be a shame to miss out.