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is it safe to travel to istanbul?

johannesburg
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is it safe to travel to istanbul?

Hi everyone..

I am flying to Istanbul on Saturday(2nd November 2013).. But I have read on the internet that there has been protests on Republic day which is expected to continue during the weekend, I would just like to know if it will still be safe for me to travel? Please do give any advice since I am really stressed out.. Thank u in advance:)

Tallinn, Estonia
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1. Re: is it safe to travel to istanbul?

I think there's nothing to worry about! Just avoid these places, where protests are going on. I were in Istanbul in June and it was totally safe back then also, even though there were big protests going on same time.

Istanbul, Turkey
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2. Re: is it safe to travel to istanbul?

No problems at all.As the previous posters says,just avoid what is in reality only a tiny few square metres in a huge city.You can have an amazing visit to Istanbul without ever seeing Taksim or going anywhere near it.

johannesburg
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3. Re: is it safe to travel to istanbul?

Thank u so much:), if there are any concerns please do let me know.. I will be staying in Sultanahmet so hopefully will have a great time :)

Amman, Jordan
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4. Re: is it safe to travel to istanbul?

i was in Istanbul in October, i saw a demonstration in Istkilal street. it was a very small one, some people were cheering and policemen were standing watching the situation. we walked the in the street and nothing happened. I can confirm that nothing will upset you during your visit.

Selcuk, Turkey
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5. Re: is it safe to travel to istanbul?

There were some demos on Republic Day - see my message on your other post.

The protests are nothing for you to worry about, but you should not be tempted to join in! I was sorely tempted to go and attack the police water-cannon vehicle which trundled unnecessarily down Istiklal Caddesi, because it's such a revolting beast of a thing. I did join in with the general booing that came from all around. What fun.

I might point out that in all the widespread protests earlier in the year, with 60 cities all over the country showing their disapproval of the current PM, only 4 people died, and they were basically accidental deaths. Possibly just one caused by the protestors themselves.

johannesburg
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6. Re: is it safe to travel to istanbul?

Thank u very muuch Robert I'm leaving South Africa right now for Istanbul, atleast I'm much more at ease :)..

Old Bridge, New...
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7. Re: is it safe to travel to istanbul?

I was on Istiklal Street on the eve of republic Day. It was packed with people. I walked from Taksim Square to the tram, saw some group of men chanting something. One came from one strret off Istiklal, then another saw another group from another street, and they all met on Istiklal. I asked one vendor what they were chanting or what was going on, he just said, " Ah, about football. It's nothing". Maybe he said that not to worry me. I tried to avoid the area where the group was,I then saw 2 police buses with people inside. But, in spite of that, people were still walking, as if nothing happened. I totally avoided the Taksim area on Republic Day, just enjoyed the fireworks along the Bosphorous. Istanbul is safe.

Mount Dora, Florida
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8. Re: is it safe to travel to istanbul?

We spent yesterday on Istiklal Street. Life was completely normal....just thousands of people walking up and down the street. At no time did I feel remotely unsafe.

Riga, Latvia
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9. Re: is it safe to travel to istanbul?

I saw two demonstrations on Republic day. One was on Istiklal street. At one point I was starting to feel uncomfortable, because I was there with my children. There were many people protesting with flags and several groups of policemen. Then one very odd looking police vehicle arrived and most policemen started to wear helmets. Some took out gas masks and what to me looked as gas weapons. Although I intially planned to use Tunnel, because we were closer to that end of Istiklal Street, I decided that I woud better not risk any big crowd especially if we do not understand what the police is demanding people to do. So we went back to Taksim Square.

From there we went to Kabatas, only to find out that tramway will not go for some time, because there is another demonstration right on the tram tracks. So we walked towards Galata bridge and more than half of the way we watched the demonstration going the opposite way. Only when we reached Eminonu the first tram arrived. So we decided not to go to Ortakoy or other more crowded places, but watched fireworks from Eminonu. So we had quite a walk that day - from Taksim to the other end of Istiklal Street, back to Taksim, and then from Kabatas to Sirkeci. But only for short time we were really uncomfortable, otherwise we felt quite safe. It is quite ironic that from 3 days spent in Istanbul I choose the most exciting day to walk Istiklal Street. :)

Mount Dora, Florida
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10. Re: is it safe to travel to istanbul?

I always pay attention to the blanket warning the US State Department makes to all US citizens traveling internationally. Avoid large crowds. I even avoid large crowds in the US, even if I know that the crowd is the result of someone giving away free hot dogs.

I did walk on Istiklal Street yesterday, which I would normally not do on a Saturday. In my still jet lagged state of mind I did not even think about it being a Saturday. There were lots of people walking up and down but no congregation or specific crowd.

One of my general rules of life is to avoid going places on week-ends and holidays. I do not visit the mall in Washington DC on our Independence Day, nor would I have gone to Taksim on Republic Day. Paija, I am very sorry that you felt so uncomfortable that you had to walk so much, and I am also sorry that demonstrations prevented you from using the tram for a period of time. I certainly understand that you felt it necessary to take precautions. I would have felt the same way.

Demonstrations have always been part of the Turkey I know, and I have always considered them to be a healthy vehicle for the minority to express their opinions in a democracy. If the demonstrators want to burn down the American Embassy I would not feel this way, but generally demonstrations in Turkey have nothing to do with foreign visitors or international policies and affairs.

I just recommend that people avoid Taksim on week-ends and holidays so there is no danger they run into a demonstration, particularly if one has small children. In spite of being worried, I do not think anyone was injured, and I really do not think anyone was uniquely unsafe.

When you put yourself in a crowd of people you are always in a bit of danger because your movements are controlled to some degree by the crowd. I do not like that sensation so I avoid it, and I am now recommending that others avoid it as well. Istanbul is just as safe for foreign visitors as it has ever been, provided they do not involve themselves in domestic political issues.