Is it safe to go to Turkey?
Related post: The ultimate guide to visiting Turkey
Is Turkey safe to travel to as a solo traveler?
Is it safe to travel to Turkey as a solo female traveler?
In Istanbul, the excessive attention from the men in the streets was often annoying. I disliked the incessant cat calling around the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia areas. Touristy places were bad, but I recall one time I was lost quite late at night in the streets of Eyüp and I felt totally safe. I even had a man help me onto the right bus back to Sultanahmet.
On the other hand, in the relatively smaller towns of Selçuk and Kayseri, men were polite, curious, and also flirty, but largely quite respectful. I didn’t mind their attention at all.
Overall, while I didn’t feel unsafe, I do think women are appraised with different eyes, and one needs to take measures to blend in and stay safe.
Here is what Ann at Ecoconscious Traveller said.
I traveled to Istanbul in June 2016. I was living in Paris at the time and was planning a short trip to Moscow to visit a friend. Given the unrest in Turkey at the time the price of the Turkish Airlines flight to Moscow was lower than normal and the cheapest option and I decided to take advantage of the stopover in Istanbul by spending three days in Istanbul. I had read a few things about the unrest but I didn’t even think about it when heading to Istanbul.
Istanbul was such a beautiful place to visit. Taking a boat trip down the Bosphorus was my favorite thing. One of the things that struck me at the time, however, was how few tourists were actually there. I stayed in a reasonably nice hostel and made friends with an Irish girl working there but other than that there were very few guests. As a solo traveler, it was hard to meet people and this was an indirect effect of the unrest in the country. I also had a lot of empathy for the owner of the hostel as he told me a few years earlier when there was no trouble in the country he had invested in opening the hostel. It did well at the time but then when things started happening he started to lose money.
A month after I had been in Istanbul there was an attack at Istanbul’s airport. More than forty people were killed. I thought it was very sad of course but after it happened I didn’t feel like it would deter me from going to Turkey. Bad things happen everywhere and I wouldn’t travel to a really dangerous country at full out war but Turkey’s not in this situation.
So now that we know that it is actually safe to travel to Turkey, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be mindful of yourself and your property while in the Country!
Related posts: How to enjoy Istanbul on a budget
Is it safe to Travel in Istanbul now?
Istanbul is the biggest and most populated city in Turkey and the point where East meets West. The culture and the historical sites like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul have made it one of the popular destinations in the world.
Sadly, the question of security is still a major discussion in popular destinations like Nice, Manchester, Boston, Newzealand, Paris, and Istanbul is no exception.
With the recent terror attack at the Atartuk airport in June 2016 that left 42 people dead and more than 230 injured, it has made tourists question whether it is safe to travel to Istanbul at the moment. The general tourism industry reduced by 19 percent as of January 2017 compared to the previous year. This affected the entire tourism sector from hotels, tour guides, and major tourist activities.
But as of now, Turkey’s tourism sector is gaining back its might with over 300 percent increase compared to the previous year. This is yet another indicator that it is safe to travel to Istanbul now.
Even though Istanbul is safe to travel to now, there are a few scammers that you should look out for so that you don’t get ripped off as you explore this amazing city. So here are a few common Istanbul scams and how to avoid them.
Related post: Free things to do in Istanbul
Istanbul Scams and how to avoid them.
3. Street robbery/ Pickpockets. These are most common in overcrowded touristy places. There is no general rule to avoiding this scam except being extremely mindful of your valuables.
- Don’t make yourself a target by looking so touristy.
- Wear your backpack on the front instead of the back and ensure that all your zippers are closed.
- Make sure that your money/ valuables are in a place you can see at all times.
- If you find anything suspicious, just move on from that place.
Although all these scams, are all about people coming up to you, it doesn’t mean everyone just wants to rip you off, some just genuinely want to offer help or create friendships- you just have to read between the lines about the entire situation and also trust your intuition about it.
Related post: Fun facts about Turkey that you didn’t know
Top 10 general safety tips for traveling to Turkey?
- Don’t involve yourself in Turkey’s politics- In fact, don’t even talk about it with people you don’t trust.
- Watch out for any terror attacks – Try to follow what’s happening in the country over the news.
- Stay away from any kind of demonstration even if it happens to be near you regardless of whether you personally believe in the cause or not.
- Be respectful of the Islamic religion
- Wear appropriately when visiting mosques
- Be aware of the scam as discussed in the above section.
- Keep your property and money safe
- Be nice to people but not overly naive
- Keep the PDA on the minimal.
- Read about Turkey’s safety situation before you travel there.
Read more: Things to do in Istanbul at night
What is the best time to travel to Turkey?
Turkey generally has a Mediterranean climate with all four seasons. (Summer, winter, spring, and Autumn).The best time to travel to Turkey solely depends on the activities you want to do whether winter activities or summer activities. So if you’re all about skiing and other winter sports, December, January, and February would be the perfect time to visit Turkey. But if you’re all about swimming, sunbathing and other water sports, June, July, and August should be the time to go.
Turkey can be fully packed with tourists during summer time to take advantage of the beautiful beaches which also puts a strain on the prices of literally everything. So if you don’t want to experience crowded Turkey, but want to enjoy amazing weather with perfect blue skies, March to May and September to November would be the best time to travel to Turkey when the temperatures are great. You can read more about Turkey’s weather here.
Is traveling to Turkey safe? Here are my final thoughts
Even though many government agencies like the U.S Department of state have warned their nationals about visiting Turkey in the previous years, its major concerns were visiting areas near the Turkey-Syria border and the Turkey-Iraq border raising the security levels to level 4.
Turkey is safe to travel to but you just need to be a little cautious and mindful of you and your property as you would traveling to any other country.
It would be such a shame not to travel to Turkey because of the security incidences that happened a few years ago. There is so much beauty, tradition and culture to see in this amazing country- why not take a leap of faith to enjoy this country.
“If we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet.”
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