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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
  • Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari

Security force operations against the PKK and related groups are ongoing in the Sur district of Diyarbakir. The FCO advise against all travel to the city of Diyarbakir. Similar operations have taken place in Sirnak and Hakkari. You should take extreme care in these areas. See Safety and security

Over 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

Terrorism

Although the Turkish authorities have successfully disrupted attack planning in the recent past, the threat from terrorism remains high. Terrorist groups, including Kurdish groups, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) and far left organisations, continue to plan and carry out attacks. As a result, further attacks are likely.

The majority of attacks are likely to continue to target the Turkish state. Nevertheless, it is likely that some attacks will also target western interests and tourism, as they did in Istanbul on 12 January 2016 when 10 tourists died in a suicide bombing. The Turkish Prime Minister has described the person who carried out this attack as a member of Daesh. To date the majority of attacks in Turkey have taken place in the south and east of the country and in Ankara and Istanbul.

The Turkish authorities have said that security has been tightened in response to the attack on tourists on 12 January 2016. Further attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect places visited by foreigners. Border crossings into Syria and nearby locations have also been targeted. Be vigilant, monitor media reports and keep up to date with this travel advice.

For more detail, see the Terrorism section and the FCO’s travel advice for Syria

Visas

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.

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

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

First World War commemorations

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.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations regularly take place across Turkey, particularly in Istanbul in the area around Taksim Square and in Kadikoy (Asian side), in the Kizilay district of central Ankara and on the waterfront area in central Izmir. Demonstrations often coincide with important national anniversaries and there are likely to be additional security measures in place in major cities on these dates. You should avoid demonstrations or large gatherings and remain vigilant.

Since July, demonstrations have occurred in cities across Turkey associated with renewed hostilities between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkish security forces in south-east Turkey. Police have used tear gas and water cannon extensively to disperse protests. You should avoid all demonstrations.

Earthquakes

Many parts of Turkey are subject to earthquakes. An earthquake of magnitude 6.9 occurred on 24 May 2014 in the northern Aegean Sea. See Natural disasters

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