Wander Wise – Travel Alerts for Turkey

One of the most common questions we get is “How safe is Turkey”. Especially with Israel’s invasion of Gaza, many assume it’s become unsafe to travel in Turkey or have seen travel alerts that seem ominous. Over the last 25 years we’ve had no problems with safety or security. Our last tour in Spring 2023 encountered no problems, and I visited in late November and had no problems.

Antique map of Persia, Turkey in Asia. Afghanistan, Beloochistan Creator: Mitchell, Samuel Augustus, 1792-1868; Mitchell’s new general atlas, containing maps of the various countries of the world, plans of cities, etc Modified from the map released under Creative Commons license from the Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library

Another concern is Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Again details of geography matter – I was in Romania last spring, and unlike Turkey it shares a border with Ukraine yet it hasn’t affected safety traveling there. Romania’s Travel Alert level is 1.

Turkey is generally considered safe for travel, and it is a popular tourist destination. However, the safety of any travel destination can change over time due to various factors, including political, economic, and social developments.

For those considering our Uzbekistan trip, their alert level is 1.

To ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information, I recommend checking with official travel advisories from your government or international organizations. Additionally, we stay informed about the current situation in the specific regions we plan to visit and follow any safety guidelines or recommendations provided by local authorities.

the U.S. Department of State issues travel advisories to provide information about the safety and security conditions in various countries. These advisories are designed to help U.S. citizens make informed decisions about travel.

It’s important to note that the validity of travel advisories can vary, and they should be considered as one of several factors when planning a trip. The State Department considers a range of factors when determining advisory levels, including crime rates, terrorism, civil unrest, natural disasters, and health concerns.

Travel advisories are typically issued on a scale from 1 to 4:

Level 1 (Exercise Normal Precautions): Travel is considered safe.
Level 2 (Exercise Increased Caution): Travelers should be cautious due to certain risks.
Level 3 (Reconsider Travel): Travelers should reconsider their plans due to significant risks.
Level 4 (Do Not Travel): Travel is not recommended due to a high level of risk.

While these advisories can be a valuable resource, they have been subject to criticism for various reasons, including the broad categorization of entire countries and potential political considerations. Additionally, the situation on the ground can change rapidly, and advisories may not always reflect real-time conditions.

While Turkey is listed at Level 2. It’s important to parse the State Dept advisories.  First, the concerns it lists are areas we will not visit on these trips. (However, last May we did visit Harran and drove to the Syrian border crossing after verifying w local authorities that it was safe. We also visited the refugee camps and earthquake damaged cities )

Next we need to observe that dozens of countries are listed at level 2.. And most surprising of all, Antarctica has a Level 2 advisory!~ digging down we find the reason is the chance of very bad weather but that’s hardly the first impression most have when they hear there’s a heightened level of alert. Instead there are visions of renegade penguins.

Antique map of Africa on the globe. From Atlas by F. A. Garnier, 1862.

US also lists the following at level 2

  • Denmark
  • Morocco
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Peru
  • Brazil

Additionally, we stay informed about the current situation in the specific regions we plan to visit and follow any safety guidelines or recommendations provided by local authorities.

So it’s obvious you need a large quantity of salt to accompany these advisories. To ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information, I recommend starting with official travel advisories from your government or international organizations but expanding your search through other trusted sources. So, ultimately each person needs to go beyond the US Travel Advisories to make their personal decision. 

Old foreign currency from around the world with passport

But in answer to the general questions, “Is Turkey safe for tourist?” the answer is as safe as any other country in Europe.  Remember – Level 2 means “exercise increased caution’ – good advice for all International travel

By Cascoly

I've been exploring and leading trips for over 40 years. climbing & trekkng in the Alps, Andes, North American mountain ranges and the Himalaya. I'm retired from mountaineering now but world travels in Europe, Africa & Asia continue to expand my portfolio. Besides private travel, I now focus on escorting trips to India & Turkey. Other interests include wide reading in history and vegetable gardening / cooking. You can download digital images here, or find images at https://steve-estvanik.pixels.com. We have many thousands of images we haven't displayed yet; so, if you have a special need or request please contact us