Exercise a high degree of caution
Latest Travel Alert
The new Istanbul Airport is due to open on Monday, 29 October 2018. There will be a gradual transfer of flights from Istanbul's existing Ataturk airport to the new one, with the transition period expected to continue until December 2018. Please be aware that delays or cancellations may occur throughout this time, please contact your airline or tour operator for the latest information on your flight.
From Monday, 29 October 2018, it will no longer be possible to obtain a visa at Turkish Airports upon arrival. For a tourist or transit visa, you must apply for an e-visa prior to departure: www.evisa.gov.tr/en. A transit visa is required only if the scheduled transit period is longer than 24 hours.
The political environment in Turkey remains potentially volatile and we strongly advise Irish citizens to avoid rallies, demonstrations and public gatherings. Presidential and parliamentary elections took place in Turkey in June 2018 and the State of Emergency, put in place following a failed coup attempt in July 2016, ended in July 2018.
If you become aware of a demonstration, please change your travel plans and leave the area. Please also be aware that the police in Turkey can take measures such as the use of tear gas to control protesters. Ensure you have a charged mobile phone at all times. Please carry ID / passport / visa at all times, presenting to security officers if requested (and keep a copy to hand also).
Six month passport validity is required from the date of entry to Turkey. Please check your passport in plenty of time before travel and if it needs to be renewed please use our Online Passport Renewal System. Please see Additional Information for visa and tourist residence permit requirements.
On 20 January 2018 the Turkish military launched military operations in collaboration with Turkish-backed Syrian rebels against Kurdish armed groups in the northern Syrian province of Afrin. Afrin borders the Turkish provinces of Hatay, Kilis, and Gaziantep. There have been reports of retaliatory fire from Afrin into Turkish border areas resulting in deaths and injuries.
The offensive has increased political tensions within Turkey and the Turkish government has warned against what it terms "terrorist propaganda", which can be interpreted broadly. As many as 91 people have been reported detained, many for comments against the operations made on social media.
We reiterate our warning against all travel to within at least 10 kilometres of the Syrian border and against all but essential travel to remaining areas of Hatay, Kilis, and Gaziantep provinces in this context. Our full warning, which also covers neighbouring provinces, is below.
General Travel Advice
The threat of terrorism in Turkey remains high. There were numerous large-scale terrorist attacks in Turkish cities, including in Istanbul in 2016 and an ongoing threat in resort areas in the south and west of the country. Several attacks have targeted locations frequented by foreigners.
Turkey, including Istanbul and coastal regions popular with Irish tourists, lies in a seismically-active area and there have been a number of significant earthquakes in the west of Turkey in recent months. This includes a magnitude 6.7 earthquake near the coastal towns of Marmaris and Bodrum on 21 July 2017. Further earthquakes are likely and many buildings in the country are not earthquake proof.
Our general advice to Irish citizens in Turkey or those who intend to travel to Turkey is to exercise a high degree of caution at all times. You should avoid all protests and demonstrations and minimise time spent in crowded areas, particularly those frequented by foreigners, follow local security advice, and monitor local media. You should also devise and/or review a personal security plan.
We recommend that you check this travel advice regularly and download the Department's TravelWise Smartphone App and activate alerts for Turkey. You can also follow the Irish Embassy in Ankara on Twitter (@IrlEmbAnkara) and on Facebook (Irish Embassy Turkey). We strongly recommend that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all intended activities.
In the event of a terrorist attack, you should let your family and friends at home know you are safe as soon as possible, even if the attack is not close to where you are located. You should also keep your family and friends informed of your travel plans as much as possible. If you need assistance, call 00353 (0)1 408 2000 or 0090 (0)312 459 1000.
The threat from terrorism in Turkey is high, including in Istanbul and Ankara. The Mediterranean and Aegean resort areas in the south and west of the country may also be targeted, though this has not generally been the case to date. The terrorist threat in Turkey is multi-faceted and unpredictable, with several terrorist groups currently targeting the country. These include the so-called Islamic State (IS), the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and its offshoots.
Although the Turkish military's Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria officially ended in late March, the military has since carried out further operations in both northern Syria and northern Iraq. On 20 January 2018 a major Turkish military operation was launched in Syria's northern Afrin province. Government operations also continue in the south-east of the country following the breakdown in mid-2015 of a ceasefire between the Turkish Government and the PKK.
We strongly advise against all travel within 10 kilometres of the border between Turkey and Syria and to Diyarbakir city. We advise against all but essential travel to the remaining areas of the provinces of Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis, Mardin, Şanliurfa, and Sirnak. In addition, we recommend against all but essential travel to all areas of Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari provinces.
Terrorist attacks are, by their nature, random and indiscriminate and cannot be predicted in advance. You should remain vigilant at all times, particularly in public places that are frequented by foreigners, avoid large public gatherings and all demonstrations, and follow the advice of the local authorities. You should also monitor travel advice and local media regularly, and review personal security plans.
Particular vigilance is required in tourist areas such as Taksim Square in Istanbul, in airports and on public transport (including the metro systems in Istanbul and Ankara), and at locations close to police and military installations, which may be targets for terrorist attacks.
Below are major terrorist attacks since November 2016:
On 5 January 2017 there was an explosion, believed to be caused by a car bomb, outside the main courthouse in the western Turkish city of Izmir.
In the early hours of 1 January 2017, there was a major shooting attack in the Reina nightclub in the central Ortaköy district of Istanbul, which resulted in a large number of casualties. IS claimed responsibility for the attack.
On 17 December 2016, a car bomb exploded in the city of Kayseri, some 320 kilometres to the south-east of Ankara, killing 13 soldiers and injuring over 50 soldiers and civilians. Kurdish militants are widely believed to be responsible. Demonstrations, including directed at offices of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), subsequently broke out in several cities, some of which turned violent.
On 10 December 2016, a car bomb and suicide bomber detonated in close succession in two locations outside the Vodafone football stadium in the central Beşiktaş district of Istanbul. 44 people were killed, 36 police and 8 civilians, with over 150 more injured. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) claimed responsibility for the attack.
On 24 November 2016, an explosion outside the governor's office in the southern Turkish city of Adana killed two people and injured over 20.
Post-Coup Attempt Environment
There are police checks in busy areas, particularly in Istanbul, and on main roads across the country. Irish citizens should cooperate with officials carrying out these checks and keep, at minimum, a copy of your passport and e-visa/residence permit with you at all times.
Rallies and demonstrations may occur at short notice. Irish citizens should remain vigilant, particularly where crowds may gather, stay well away from any demonstrations, and stay informed of local developments and security advice.
There have been several cases of nationals or dual-nationals of EU Member States being detained, for example, because they worked, or intended to work, in an organisation suspected of links to the Gülen movement. Foreign employees of international NGOs operating in the country have also been detained and several have been deported. Irish citizens intending to work in Turkey should exercise particular caution in this context. All intending travellers should follow instructions given by police or security personnel.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
You can contact the emergency services in Turkey by dialling:
- 101/112 – Ambulance
- 102 – Fire
- 100 – Police
Our tips for Safe Travels:
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there's an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
- Read our 'Know Before You Go' guide.
Thu, 25 Oct 2018 10:33:09 BST