Foreign travel advice

Turkey

Summary

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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

There is a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation. The threat is constantly evolving and we must respond accordingly. The UK government has decided to implement additional security measures on several countries which will be put in place in the coming days and by Saturday 25th March at the latest. These measures will affect direct flights which continue to depart to the UK from Turkey. Further information on transit flights through Turkey is available here. You should co-operate fully with security officials. If you need more information about how this may affect your flight, contact your airline or travel company.

British nationals made over 1.7 million visits to Turkey in 2016. It’s generally safe to travel to Turkey, but you should take additional safety precautions. Be alert to your surroundings and remain vigilant in crowded places popular with foreign nationals, including during festival periods such as Christmas and New Year.

Campaigning has started in Turkey ahead of a national referendum on 16 April 2017. Rallies and demonstrations, official and unofficial, may take place at short notice. You should stay well away from any demonstrations.

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.

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.

Terrorism

There is a high threat from terrorism. Terrorist groups, including Kurdish groups, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) and far left organisations, continue to plan and carry out attacks. Further attacks are likely and could be indiscriminate.

There is a heightened risk of terrorist attack against the aviation industry in Turkey. You should co-operate fully with security officials at airports.

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. But further attacks are likely and could be indiscriminate.

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.

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

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.

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. A series of earthquakes of magnitudes up to 5.3 occurred between 6 and 12 February 2017 south west of Canakkale (Gallipoli). An earthquake of magnitude 6.9 occurred on 24 May 2014 in the northern Aegean Sea. See Natural disasters