Travelling to Turkey? The government has updated travel advice amid Iran tensions
Tourists heading to Turkey for their holidays this year are being urged to follow important travel advice issued by the government.
British travellers made over 2.3 million visits to Turkey in 2018 and most visits are trouble free, but following increasing tensions in the region the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is asking people to be vigilant.
The warning comes following the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US strike in Baghdad on January 3.
The FCO has said as a result there is a possibility of an increased threat against Western interests and the security situation could worsen with little warning.
Travellers are advised to remain vigilant in crowded places popular with foreign nationals, including during festival periods and too keep up to date with the latest developments via the media.
Turkey is conducting a military operation in north-eastern Syria which has led to heightened tensions in border regions, including cross-border rocket and mortar attacks into Turkey, close to the border.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is also advising against all travel to areas within 10 km of the border with Syria, except the city of Kilis.
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to all other areas of Sirnak, Kilis (including Kilis city) and Hatay provinces and the provinces of Diyarbakir, Tunceli and Hakkari.
If travellers are in provinces bordering Syria, you should remain extremely vigilant and keep up to date with developments via local media.
On the gov.uk website the FCO said: ‘Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Turkey.
‘Terrorist groups, including Kurdish groups, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) and far left organisations, continue to plan and carry out attacks.
‘Further attacks could be indiscriminate. Most attacks have taken place in the south-east of the country, and in Ankara and Istanbul.
‘While there is a potential that citizens from western countries may be targets or caught up in attacks, particularly in the major cities, attacks are most likely to target the Turkish state, civilians and demonstrations.’
Here is the key advice from the FCO:
: British nationals need a visa to travel to Turkey, except for some cruise ship passengers arriving at sea ports for visits of up to 72 hours. If you’re visiting Turkey as a tourist or on business, get an e-Visa online before you travel.
: You should carry your passport and a printed copy of your e-visa (if applicable) or residence permit at all times.
: Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
: If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
: You can contact the emergency services by calling 155 (police), 112 (ambulance) and 110 (fire).
: It’s illegal to be a member or supporter of a terrorist organisation in Turkey, including expressions of support on social media. Some organisations in the region though not proscribed in the UK, such as the YPG and the Gülen Movement are illegal in Turkey.