Turkey is a country on the Mediterranean, situated in the Anatolian region of West Eurasia. Turkey shares its borders with Bulgaria and Greece to the west, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to the northeast, Syria, Iraq and Iran to the southeast and flaunts the Black Sea coastline to the north, the Aegean Sea in the west and Mediterranean Sea to the southwest.
You won’t go wrong going to Turkey: it offers a skyline you won’t easily forget, filled with domes and minarets of various sizes and heights, Roman ruins and a contrast between a coastline stretched against a mountainous backdrop of Lycia as well as Pamphylia’s sunny beaches. What tourists often emphasize as their favorite part of Turkish experience is the unique Middle Eastern cuisine, with baklavas as their number one dessert specialty. And though Turkey’s beaches are it’s most famous feature, don’t forget that winter sports, especially skiing, are very popular in Turkey between December and March with temperatures at a constant below freezing point.
Warnings & Dangers in Turkey
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
Turkey is safe to visit, if you avoid some parts of it - namely those near the border with Syria. You should be aware that tourist hotspots, restaurants, shops and public transportation are places where most thefts and pickpocketing occur, and that violent crime exists here, too.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Generally, transport in Turkey is rather safe and reliable, though if you're driving you should keep in mind that local drivers in the country are reckless and tend to ignore traffic rules and signs.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
As for pickpocketing, it is a recurring concern on the streets of Turkey, especially Istanbul, which is a popular tourist destination, so be careful and hold your bags tightly by your side. Places where you should watch out for pickpockets are Taksim Square, Sultanahmet, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
As for natural disasters, earthquakes have been known to hit Turkey, as well as severe droughts causing the lack of tap water in some parts of this country.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The majority of violent crime happens near the Syrian borders, where kidnappings, muggings and assaults have been reported. Terrorist groups here usually target those involved in humanitarian work or journalism.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
Terrorism is the greatest worry for tourists, as it's been active in Turkey in the recent years. The last terrorist attack happened in January 2017. Most of these attacks are linked to Kurdish separatist terrorist activities in south-east Turkey.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
The common scam in Turkey is locals befriending tourists, taking them out for a drink, or a dinner and then expecting the tourist to pay for it. Taxi drivers might try to trick you into paying more, giving you wrongful information about the price of the ride.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
If you're a woman traveling solo you should avoid walking alone after dark in this country. There have been reports of sexual assaults and verbal insults. These can happen even if your accompanied by a group. Avoid isolated or poorly lit areas.
So... How Safe Is Turkey Really?
Turkey is mostly safe when it comes to crime and its biggest risks stem from their political situation and terrorism risks. However, that isn’t to say that violent as well as petty crimes don’t exist in Turkey, because they do, especially in Istanbul. Snatching, pickpocketing, and mugging are the most common kinds of petty crime. However, lately, with the newly developed camera network that supervises the streets of Istanbul 24/7, the mugging and purse snatching declined. It is useful to know that once you leave the big cities, you’re in a mostly safe zone where tourists have had nothing but positive experiences.
Another advice that might come in handy in Turkey is that you should take every precaution while driving, as drivers in this country are mostly reckless and completely ignoring traffic signs, commonly causing traffic accidents. Apart from this, transport is mostly safe in Turkey and works quite well.
The real danger in Turkey and the reason many tourists are skeptic when it comes to safety in this country, are the continuous and frequent terrorist attacks all around Turkey that have to do with the political situation in the state and most of them are linked to Kurdish separatist terrorist activities in south-east Turkey. However, recently the situation has settled and the last attack happened in January 2017.
- Visas - Some nationals do need a visa in order to enter Turkey, but they can be purchased online at http://www.evisa.gov.tr/ before traveling to Turkey. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past the date of your arrival to Turkey. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Turkish lira is the official currency in Turkey. ATMs are widespread throughout the country and credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments.
- Weather - The coastline bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot and dry summers and mild, wet winters, while the coastline bordering the Black Sea has a temperate climate with warm winters and cool, wet summers. Generally, the best time to visit Turkey is during April, May, September and October as they are pleasantly warm. The summer months from June through to September are very hot.
- Airports - Istanbul Atatürk Airport is the main and busiest international airport serving Istanbul, and the biggest airport in Turkey. It is located on the European side of the city, about 24 km west of the city centre.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we advise getting travel insurance when traveling to Turkey, because it would cover not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.