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Worldwide Travel Alert and Istanbul?

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Worldwide Travel Alert and Istanbul?

We are supposed to travel to Istanbul for a family vacation this month. This has not been an easy

time to make plans with the Taksim Square demonstrations and now, a Worldwide Travel Alert, and closure of embassies across the Muslim world. Very tough.

What do others think? I am curious. So disappointed. We afraid to visit tourist areas like the Grand Bazaar, etc. for our safety.

What a way to ruin a vacation. We are so nervous and afraid.

Would welcome views of others about safety in Istanbul. Or should we just pack it in and cancel and come another time?

Houston, Texas
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1. Re: Worldwide Travel Alert and Istanbul?

Where are you flying from?

Mount Dora, Florida
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2. Re: Worldwide Travel Alert and Istanbul?

Hi Librarylady, I watched the national news this evening on television and wondered if the Sunday closure of US embassies in the Middle East as well as the warning about terrorist activity would cause any concern to potential visitors to Istanbul. I did watch an interview with an expert from the State Department and he said they were not discouraging people from traveling, but they were encouraging them to be alert to their surroundings.

I would register my trip with the State Department, but I always do that just in case of some emergency like an earthquake. I would not worry any further about terrorists activities. This threat is always with us. Anyone who travels has to give some thought to terrorist activities. Then you make up your mind about whether you are going to let these warnings dictate your vacation or if you are going to live your life.

I generally evaluate my risk level. The only link that I think could be upsetting is that most terrorists are Muslim and most Turkish people are Muslim. However, Turkey is not a Muslim nation. It has a secular government, and I never group Turkey with oil-rich dictatorships of the Middle East. I believe my risk of experiencing a terrorist attack in Turkey is about the same risk I take when I drive across the Golden Gate Bridge or fly on an airplane across the country. It is not something about which I worry.

If the terrorists are targeting an area filled with US vacationers I would feel particularly comfortable in Istanbul because not many tourists are from the US. Taksim is relatively calm. Life is generally normal in Istanbul, and in Turkey at large with the exception of difficulties on the Syrian border, which are many, many miles from Istanbul.

I will be going to Turkey in a couple of months for four to six weeks. I am not worried. I am not afraid, and I am sure I will spend far too many hours dreaming along the street of gold, checking out the leather handbags, and buying a few little Christmas gifts. The last thought I will have in the Grand Bazaar will be a concern that it will be the object of a terrorist attack. My greatest fear in the Grand Bazaar is that I will get lost and never find the tiny jewelry shop where I purchased a lovely quartz pendant last year.

My Turkish friends and my ex-pat friends in Turkey have not reported any significant unrest as a result of protests last spring. They are going about their lives, and I am anxious to join them.

My advice is that you should relax. Pack you suitcase. Enjoy visiting with your family in Etiler. I am confident that you could be no safer in any large city any where in the world than you will be in Istanbul.

However, if you are so afraid that you cannot go to the Grand Bazaar, and if you are going to be nervous and upset, then you should not spend any more money on this adventure. Extraneous threats will not ruin your vacation to Istanbul, but if you are truly terrified you can ruin it for yourself. If this is the situation, you should select some location where you will feel more safe. I would not wait, however, for a more "peaceful" period to visit Istanbul. The world is always in a state of flux, and we can never predict events. I do not foresee that things will become better in the next few years. There are serious conflicts that divide nations, and not much is happening to resolve them.

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3. Re: Worldwide Travel Alert and Istanbul?

Librarylady, You do not need to worry unduly. Turkey is not part of the latest worldwide alert by State Department: "…state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html". However Mexico is included in that list. Turks are very friendly towards Americans besides other nationalities.

enjoy Turkey,


Dublin, Ireland
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4. Re: Worldwide Travel Alert and Istanbul?

I don't believe Turkey is included in the list where US embassies are closing and people are advised not to travel - however I agree with Busy Retired that if you know yourself to be the kind of person who worries then perhaps this type of trip is too stressful and perhaps you should choose different type of holiday somewhere less ' Muslim ' which is now strongly associated with terrorism especially in US. Come to Europe or perhaps Australia or indeed somewhere in US that you have not yet been. But really there is nowhere safety can be completely guaranteed but holidays should not be a source of worry or stress either. I do think with recent events and particularly the attitude of the current PM the difference between Turkey and other more volatile parts of 'the Middle East ' is becoming less and it is harder and harder to convince people that Turkey is a secular country when clearly it is rapidly becoming less so.

Milan, Italy
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5. Re: Worldwide Travel Alert and Istanbul?

I completely agree with the others TA friends. I would consider another trip only if you're so worried to go to Istanbul that your vacation can be ruined.

Otherwise I would definitely go. Even when there were demonstrations in Taksim area, tourist places in Sultanhamet were completely safe; you can also have a look at the specific posts written by visitors who were there on that days,

About Worldwide Travel Alert, this has nothing to do specifically with Turkey, I think the chance to have some troubles in Instanbul are exactly the same than in any other Western country.

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6. Re: Worldwide Travel Alert and Istanbul?

HI Ireland, Doledes, my helpful 'friend' Enigma and Busy -retired from Florida!

Many thanks for all of your very thoughtful and reasonable responses. Thank you Busy Retired for such a lengthy post. Yes, I know Turkey is a secular Muslim nation and not an oil-rich dictatorship. You eased my worries. Sadly, we are all under this threat these days. I am comforted that at least Turkey is NOT on the State Department Advisory list, per se. I will, however, be registering with the State Dept. safe traveler program before we leave. My husband is more of a worrier than I am and everytime there is a problem in Turkey, he gets worried. Grrr!! I have family (aunts, uncles, cousins) whom I haven't seen in 30 (gasp!) years there and I will now see them and am so excited and beside myself. I love Turkey and the Turkish people and am so looking forward to our trip. My 8 year old will meet her Turkish side as well. :) Thanks to all of you!!

7. Re: Worldwide Travel Alert and Istanbul?

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