Foreign travel advice

Turkey

Summary

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • the remaining areas of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Kilis and Hatay provinces
  • the provinces of Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari

Additional security measures may apply to flights departing from Turkey to the UK. You should co-operate fully with security officials. For more information about how your flight may be affected, including if you’re transiting through Turkey on the way to the UK, read this guidance page and contact your airline or travel company if you have further questions.

British nationals made over 1.7 million visits to Turkey in 2016. Most visits are trouble free. Be alert to your surroundings and remain vigilant in crowded places popular with foreign nationals, including during festival periods.

The situation has calmed following an attempted coup on 15 to 16 July 2016. But the security environment remains potentially volatile and a state of emergency is in place. See Political Situation

In some busy areas, especially Istanbul, the Turkish authorities are stopping members of the public to conduct ID checks. There’s also a larger than usual number of police checkpoints on main roads across Turkey. You should co-operate with officials conducting checks, and keep your passport and a printed copy of your e-visa or your residence permit with you at all times.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Turkey. Terrorist groups, including Kurdish groups, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) and far left organisations, continue to plan and carry out attacks. Further attacks could be indiscriminate.

Most terrorist attacks have taken place in the south and east of the country and in Ankara and Istanbul. Attacks are most likely to target the Turkish state, civilians and demonstrations. Nevertheless, it’s likely that some attacks will also target western interests and tourists from western countries, particularly in the major cities.

The Turkish authorities have successfully disrupted attack planning in the recent past and have said that security has been tightened in response to recent attacks. Between 12 and 14 September 2017, media reports suggest that 37 terrorist suspects had been detained by police.

You should be vigilant, follow the advice of local security authorities, monitor media reports and keep up to date with this travel advice. See Terrorism.

It’s illegal to be a member or supporter of a terrorist organisation in Turkey. Some organisations in the region though not proscribed in the UK, such as YPG, Gulen/FETO, are illegal in Turkey.

British nationals need a visa to travel to Turkey, except for cruise ship passengers with ‘British Citizen’ passports who arrive at sea ports for tourist visits to the port city or nearby cities, provided that the visit doesn’t exceed 72 hours.

If you’re visiting Turkey as a tourist or on business, get an e-Visa online before you travel. Only use the official Republic of Turkey e-Visa website. Avoid unauthorised websites as they may charge an additional fee. Some unauthorised websites have issued fake e-Visas.

There have been reports of an increase in holidaymakers being encouraged to submit a claim for personal injury if they have experienced gastric illness during their stay. You can find more information about the action you can take if you have suffered a personal injury on the Citizens Advice website. You should only consider pursuing a complaint or claim if you have genuinely suffered from injury or illness. If you make a false or fraudulent claim, you may face legal proceedings in the UK or Turkey.

If you don’t have an e-Visa you can still get a visa on arrival for £20 in cash, although the visa on arrival service is due to be phased out. Getting an e-Visa from the official website before you travel will avoid possible problems or delays at the Turkish border, or when boarding your flight in the UK. See Entry requirements

If you’re travelling to commemorate the First World War centenary, see this information and advice page to help plan your trip and make sure it’s safe and trouble free.

Many parts of Turkey are subject to earthquakes. An earthquake of magnitude 6.7 occurred off the coast of Bodrum on 21 July 2017. A series of earthquakes of magnitudes up to 5.3 occurred between 6 and 12 February 2017 south west of Canakkale (Gallipoli). See Natural disasters

You can contact the emergency services by calling 155 (police), 112 (ambulance) and 110 (fire).

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.