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Trip to Turkey in Feb 2017

Hi guys.
My friends and I are already booked for Turkey for 13 days. We are so looking forward to this trip. However, due to the recent attack and political unrest, we are having second thoughts about it. We are thinking of canceling Turkey and go someplace else.
Your thoughts, opinions are welcome. Thanks and safe travels everyone.

Posted by
12386 posts

Who knows. Maybe all will be good, maybe not. First, you have to be comfortable with your choice. Personally I would be most worried about bad timing messing up the trip more than any real great danger. If I am going to spend a lot of money on a trip I want a level of belief that all will go pretty much as planned. If I really, really, really wanted to go to Turkey then I would leave my plans alone. If Turkey was just one place on a long bucket list I might be inclined to look elsewhere if I could get my deposit back.

Posted by
6569 posts

We just returned from a cruise ship stop in Turkey for one day. We found the country to be very modern, and we really liked the people.
Who knows what the near future holds for this very important country.
Turkey has long since been a very misunderstood country in many ways. There are so many great and beautiful places to visit, however the general traveling public has no idea what's even in the country.
Istanbul is 14 million people--almost twice that of New York City. (I don't care to visit huge cities.)
On the western side of Turkey, things would probably be more stable. We like to travel off the beaten path, and we do want to visit Turkey again in the future.

Posted by
1062 posts

I took the Best of Turkey tour in 2002 and loved every minute. I have long wished to return, but would I do that now ....? Probably not ..., but due more to the unrest than the terror threat. Most of the tour is in smaller remote villages and towns, and the tour leaders are very smart and know what is going on around them.
No one can predict what the situation will be like in 6 months, and I'm not sure that you need to make the decision now.
(I am setting up a 3 week independent trip to Amsterdam, Paris, Nice, and Barcelona for this Fall, however, and am not deterred by recent horrific events/tragedies.)
I think, based on friends' recent experiences, that if you want to cancel the Turkey tour and choose a different RS itinerary, that they will apply your deposit to the new choice.
Call the office and ask them.
And happy travels, wherever you decide to go!

Posted by
6337 posts

Personally I wouldn't react right away, give it a couple of months and see what shakes out. September/October is still early enough to plan an alternate destination for February if you still feel that it's necessary.

Posted by
12214 posts

David from Alabama--- you had one day in Turkey on a cruise? What relevance does that have to the OP's concerns, about the attempted coup last night? Political instability is a valid concern, no matter how beautiful the countryside.

Posted by
12386 posts

David said he thought it was beautiful and he had a good time. Not exactly to the question, but relevant.

Posted by
12 posts

Presently in Turkey and we were in the Hilton Ankara when the attempted coup took place. We did not feel any more unsafe than we would driving on a USA freeway.
There is chance that the bombers might strike but you have to figure out the odds and just how much risk you can take on a personal level. It is not as if these things don't happen in the States
Turkey is great and the Cappadocia ballon flight is one of the best experiences of my life.

Posted by
6718 posts

I would personally not make a rash decision - it would be different if your trip was a week from now. Take a breather and see how you feel in a few months. If you're on a tour, then have some solace that tours are risk-averse too, and they'll take precautions to keep you safe (there's no 100% safe but reasonably safe). Having said that, I don't believe that Turkey can be truly stable if its neighbors across the border aren't stable - and there is no light at the end of the tunnel for Syria (or ISIS). And there's no immediate hope that there will be some kind of peace internally with its Kurdish population. And then there are large political divisions within its population, and its leader is a very polarizing figure. Turkey's has had something like 14 deadly incidences in the last year or two, some involving tourists. It's tourism numbers are way down. In comparison, France is suffering too, and France is the # 1 travel destination worldwide. I will go to Turkey again (not sure when) and I've already been there 3 times (on a tour and solo)...the reason is that it's a fascinating place, it's huge, and very good value compared to many.

Good luck with your decision, but take some time to think about how much you'd like to go and whether you're willing to weigh a small risk for (I would argue) a big reward. At the end of the day though, you want to enjoy and feel good about your vacation so even a tiny risk may not be enough to overcome bad feelings. Even if you don't go, there are tons of other interesting places in the world that you may feel better about, so nothing wrong with picking one of the either.

Posted by
2791 posts

We went to Turkey in 2012. I made it a priority because I thought it might become too dangerous like Egypt-a place I now don't ever expect to see. We loved Turkey. Basically, you're rolling the dice-go now before it gets worse or assume it will improve in the future. Of course, the FAA restrictions right now make it more difficult to even get there.

Posted by
12386 posts

Presently in Turkey and we were in the Hilton Ankara when the
attempted coup took place. We did not feel any more unsafe than we
would driving on a USA freeway.

Like I said, its all about feelings; as there is really no practical way to judge the situation objectively.

Posted by
35 posts

eils_12 - I was in a similar situation as you; I was booked for the Best of Turkey tour in March, days before multiple terrorist attacks in both Istanbul and Ankara. As each attack occurred, I became less and less certain I wanted to go on the tour. It was a tough decision; I'd spent a week in Istanbul in 2015, fell in love with the country, and so wanted to return to see other parts of it! I love to travel and will not let potential terrorist attacks keep me home. But Turkey is different than other countries, for many of the reasons already stated here. I ended up canceling my trip the day before I was scheduled to leave the United States. The RS office was very accommodating and helpful; I was able to transfer to the Greece tour which was the exact same days as the Turkey tour, and I was able to use all the money I paid for the Turkey tour for the Greece tour. No one can make your decision for you, but for me, I do not plan to go back to Turkey until the country becomes more stable politically and militarily.

Posted by
338 posts

If you were two months or less from your trip, I'd say start working on finding a new travel location. However, you have more than six months, which is plenty of time to see how things are shaking out. I agree with the previous posts that suggest that you monitor things for now. Maybe reassess in 60 days? That will still give you plenty of time for a back-up plan if things don't look good.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Posted by
12386 posts

It a transformation into a fundamentalist country. By that definition, not a place I want to visit, not a place I want to support with my money. My perception is that fundamentalist administrations don't play by the rules that I am accustomed to; making it hard for me to find a comfort level regarding my safety. Its a country full of good people so I have hope that they will stop this and turn it around the other direction. Can only wait and see.

Till then I have a very large bucket list which includes a few I want to get to before there is an opportunity for them to end up like Turkey. Jordan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan for instance; so I will put off a return to Turkey for a good long time. Or before they end up in the new Soviet Union: the Baltic States, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia.

Posted by
2525 posts

Whether policies and actions of various countries help decide whether to visit is a very personal choice, but if so, do your research and don't assume all is perfect in countries that you might automatically assume otherwise.

Posted by
25 posts

Thank you so much for all your replies. We decided to forego Turkey. I am aware that there is danger everywhere we go. We live in a different world now.
Anyhow, my friends and I are trying to decide whether to go to Greece (includes Athens & Greek Islands), or Western Europe (includes Prague, Warsaw, Vienna) or Croatia.
Again, your suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks all for your input.

Posted by
6718 posts

Anyhow, my friends and I are trying to decide whether to go to Greece (includes Athens & Greek Islands), or Western Europe (includes Prague, Warsaw, Vienna) or Croatia.

I would veer toward southern locales...also consider southern Spain, Portugal, Sicily, and Malta. Central Europe is just too cold and could be very dreary in February - it's not a great time to go there (although it would be a lot less expensive because it's off peak). I'm from Warsaw and lived outside Vienna and would not visit either place in February (voluntarily anyway).

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks Agnes. You mentioned you live in Warsaw, what is the best time to go then?

Posted by
6718 posts

For Warsaw, I would say September or early October...although the weather has been so unpredictable over the past few years that it's hard to say for certain (so I'm speaking very generally). Spring is also a beautiful time - especially late May...lots of flowers and gardens come alive. Summers can be brutally hot and have crazy rainstorms. Spring and Fall are a common theme for a lot of places in Europe in general (summer is best in Scandinavia/ north destinations).
If you go to Poland, I would highly recommend Krakow, Gdansk and Wroclaw as well.

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks very much Agnes for the info. I will share this with my friends. Safe travels everyone.

Posted by
35 posts

I would choose Greece! The Greek and Turkish cultures are so intertwined. The food is very similar and the people in Greece are very friendly, just like the Turks. So much history and the Mediterranean; you can't go wrong! The Rick Steves Athens and the Peloponnese Peninsula tour was fantastic.