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

On 29 October 2016, the US Department of State ordered the departure of family members of employees posted to the US Consulate General in Istanbul due to security information indicating extremist groups continue aggressive efforts to attack US citizens in Istanbul. British diplomatic missions in Turkey continue to operate as normal. You should remain vigilant and monitor travel advice.

British nationals made over 2.4 million visits to Turkey in 2015. 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 tourists.

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.

The authorities have banned all demonstrations in Ankara until the end of November 2016. Rallies and demonstrations may take place at short notice. You should stay well away from any demonstrations.

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.

On 24 November 2016, a bomb exploded near the Governor’s office in Adana. You should remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities.

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

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. An earthquake of magnitude 6.9 occurred on 24 May 2014 in the northern Aegean Sea. See Natural disasters