Foreign travel advice
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. It’s generally safe to travel but you should take additional safety precautions. You should be alert to your surroundings and remain vigilant in crowded places popular with tourists.
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. Further attacks are likely. Terrorist groups, including Daesh and the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), have publicly threatened to attack tourist sites in Turkey. You should take extra care in public places – particularly those visited by foreigners. Be vigilant, follow the advice of local security authorities, monitor media reports and keep up to date with this travel advice.
On 12 January 2016 there was a suicide bomb attack against tourists in Sultanahmet in Istanbul in which 10 people died. On 19 March 2016 a similar attack against tourists on Istiklal St in Istanbul killed 4 people.
On 17 February 2016 a large bomb attack near a military barracks on Eskisehir Road in Ankara killed 28 people. On 13 March 2016, a similar attack killed over 30 people at Kizilay Square in central Ankara.
On 27 April 2016, there was a suspected suicide bomb attack at Bursa Ulu Mosque. The bomber was killed and 7 people slightly injured.
On 1 May 2016 a bomb attack at the Central Police Station in Gaziantep killed two police officers and injured 23 others.
Attacks are likely to target the Turkish state, civilians and demonstrations. Nevertheless, it’s increasingly likely that some attacks will also target western interests and tourism, as they did in Istanbul on 12 January and 19 March 2016. To date most attacks in Turkey have taken place in the south and east of the country and in Ankara and Istanbul.
Turkish authorities have successfully disrupted attack planning in the recent past. The Turkish authorities have said that security has been tightened in response to recent attacks. Nevertheless, further attacks are likely, could be indiscriminate and may target or affect places visited by foreigners.
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
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 2015, 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.
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.
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