is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. OSAC encourages travelers to use
this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Anatolia.
For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s Turkey country page
for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some
of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC
current U.S. Department of State Travel
Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Turkey at Level
2, indicating travelers should exercise increased caution due to terrorism and
arbitrary detentions. Do not travel to areas near the Syrian and Iraqi borders
due to terrorism. Reconsider travel to Batman, Bingol, Bitlis, Diyarbakir,
Gaziantep, Hakkari, Hatay, Kilis, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Siirt, Sirnak, Tunceli,
and Van Provinces. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular Travel
Overall Crime and
U.S. Department of State has assessed Ankara and Gaziantep as being a LOW-threat location for crime directed
at or affecting official U.S. government interests.
nationals are the chief perpetrators and victims of the vast majority of crime
in Ankara. Although violent crimes (e.g. sexual assault, rape, murder) do
occur, they are infrequent or unreported and generally do not target the
expatriate community. Crime statistics provided by the Turkish National Police
(TNP) for Ankara province in 2019 reflect the following number of reported
crimes: burglary (2,627), robbery (120), vehicle break-in (888), vehicle theft
(532), and homicide (121). U.S. nationals in the Ankara Consular District
typically report crimes of assault, theft, and domestic violence.
dining out in Turkey, patronize well-established restaurants and always ask to
see a menu to avoid inadvertently ordering food or drink at falsely inflated
prices. Review OSAC’s report, Shaken: The Don’ts of
have been several reports of financial internet scams victimizing U.S.
nationals who transfer sums of money to a supposed friend in Turkey. These
scams include fraudulent visas services or fake online romance schemes. In
romance schemes, online con artists may communicate and groom victims online
over several months, building a romantic interest. The con artists often claim
to be U.S. philanthropists in the region, building hospitals and/or schools, or
pose as U.S. military personnel traveling through Turkey. After purporting
to have an accident, arrest, travel emergency, intention to visit, or other
situation, the scammer then request funds from the target. Never send money to
anyone with whom you do not have a verified relationship.
there have been reports of criminal enterprises targeting individuals using
unsecured Wi-Fi to compromise Personally Identifiable Information to commit
fraud. For a full list of scams, visit the State Department’s International
Financial Scams webpage.
authorities have prevented some U.S. nationals from entering or departing
Turkey due to social media postings the government perceived to be critical of it
or supportive of entities it has designated as terrorist organizations. The
Cybersecurity Branch of the Turkish National Police (TNP) explicitly monitors
such activity. Travelers should not have an increased expectation of privacy. Remain
mindful of social media usage, and refrain from posting information that one could
perceive as critical and/or inflammatory to the Government of Turkey.
Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics,
Best Practices for
Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling with Mobile
Devices: Trends & Best Practices, and Satellite Phones:
Critical or Contraband?
Road Safety and Road Conditions
drive defensively. Traffic and the threat of
accidents provide a daily challenge, and traffic fatalities are high
nationwide. Local drivers routinely ignore traffic regulations,
including driving through red lights and stop signs, and turning left from
the far-right lane, or driving the wrong
way down one-way or two-way streets. These and other similar driving
practices cause frequent traffic accidents. Use extreme caution while driving
at night. Driving after dark, especially in rural areas, presents additional
dangers such as livestock on the road or narrow unmarked or unpaved
Generally, road conditions are good, especially along major
arteries and thoroughfares. However, smaller streets in neighborhoods and in
rural areas can be in poorer condition. Driving at night or in inclement
weather can be particularly challenging.
Pedestrians also flout traffic rules by crossing against the light
and walking in the street. Parked vehicles often block sidewalks and driveways.
Pedestrians do not have the right of way; exercise extreme caution when
Vendors and panhandlers frequently gather at stoplights along
major roads and at hotels. Panhandlers can be aggressive. When going through
traffic areas with stoplights, lock vehicle doors and roll up windows. Be
cautious if a bystander flags you down to indicate a flat tire; drive to the
nearest attended gas station before stopping.
case of an accident or car trouble, pull to the side of the road, turn on
hazard lights, and use reflector triangles. For accidents with only vehicular
damage, exchange insurance information, take photos of the accident before
moving the vehicles, and depart if both sides agree. Turkish law requires
drivers to fill out a Turkish-language form and provide pictures of the damage.
Non-Turkish speakers should call and wait for the police. For accidents with
injury or a disagreement, remain at the site of the accident. Do not move the
vehicle – even out of the traffic lanes – until the Traffic Police arrive.
Report the accident to the Traffic Police (155)
or Jandarma (156). Get a certified copy
of the official report from the Traffic Police office (this can take several
days). The owner of the damaged vehicle should also apply to the customs
authority with a passport and accident report before attempting to repair the
vehicle or leave the country without the vehicle. When in doubt, it is best to
call the Traffic Police or the Jandarma in the event of an accident.
for driving drunk (blood alcohol levels at or above 0.05%) include
a fine and a six-month license confiscation. Using cell phones while
driving is illegal and can lead to a fine.
stays up to 180 days, a valid U.S. driver’s license is acceptable. For stays
longer than 180 days:, obtain a Turkish driver’s license from the Turkish Security Directorate,
Traffic Department. Drivers may bring a vehicle into Turkey for up to six months.
OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad,
Driving Overseas: Best
Practices, and Evasive Driving
Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving
and road safety abroad.
Public Transportation Conditions
and other major cities in Turkey have extensive and modern public
transportation options, including taxis, subways, ferries, trains, buses,
and minibuses. Turkey has extensive domestic and international bus and
train routes, as well as air connections.
Taxis are plentiful, and most drivers are honest. Only patronize licensed
taxis, all of which have meters. Taxicabs are relatively safe and
remain highly regulated by the Turkish government.
Sit in the back seat, and use the seat belt. Most taxi drivers do not
have a high-level working proficiency of English, sometimes making
communication a challenge. Foreign travelers have reported taxi drivers using
circuitous routes to increase the meter fare. Always ask to have the meter
turned on unless you are comfortable with a pre-negotiated flat rate. Do not accept food/ drink from the driver. Record the
license or number of any taxi you enter.
are no officially licensed ride-sharing services. Uber and local apps like
Bi-Taksi offer the ability to order a yellow or turquoise licensed taxi. As of
this report’s publication, at least one telecoms provider has blocked the Uber
smartphone app, making it unavailable for download, though the app downloaded
elsewhere continues to function in Turkey. Since Uber’s block, there have been
reports of an increasing number of “pirate” taxis for hire. Review OSAC’s
and Security in the Share Economy and Security In Transit:
Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of
Turkey’s Civil Aviation Authority as compliant with International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of
Turkey’s air carrier operations. Airport security includes three levels of
screening and limitations on the entrances to terminals. The first checkpoint
is at the airport’s perimeter, where either the Turkish National Police (TNP)
or the Jandarma randomly screen vehicles. The second screening areas are at the
entrances to the departure and arrival halls. The third screening area is at
the entrance to the departures lounge. Additional screening occurs on a random
Private Turkish security firms generally handle traveler/luggage
screening. The TNP Immigration Department processes passengers who enter/exit
Turkey via international airports. The Customs Department also randomly
inspects luggage and other personal items.
U.S. Department of State has assessed all cities in Turkey hosting U.S.
diplomatic facilities as being HIGH-threat
locations for terrorism directed at or affecting official U.S. government
have previously attacked U.S. interests in Turkey, including the U.S. Embassy
in Ankara, the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, and the U.S. Consulate in
Adana. Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Turkey, and
may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations,
transportation hubs, markets and shopping malls, local government
facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major
sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other
public areas. Terrorists have also previously targeted Western tourists and
security forces, including the police, the Jandarma, and the military, are
professional, capable, and experienced counterterror actors. Purges of several
thousand members of the Turkish military and law enforcement continue following
attempted coup d’état in 2016. Because of the overall size of
Turkey’s security forces, these purges have not significantly degraded
readiness or effectiveness, especially in the realm of counterterrorism. Media reports show Turkish security forces taking action to
disrupt potential terrorist plots and to discourage potential supporters of
terrorist activity. Security forces have detained tens of thousands of
individuals, including U.S. nationals, for alleged affiliations with terrorist
organizations based on scant or secret evidence and grounds that appear to be
politically motivated. U.S. nationals have also been subject to exit bans that
prevent them from departing Turkey.
Threats to U.S. nationals and interests from transnational and
indigenous groups alike remain common. Known terrorist groups active in Turkey
ISIS, and ISIS offshoot organizations, have a significant presence
in northern Syria, and along portions of the Turkish/Syrian border. Many/most
foreign terrorist fighters travel through Turkey to Syria and Iraq.
The Kurdistan People’s Congress (also Kongra Gel, KGK; and Kurdistan
Workers’ Party, PKK) has been the most active terrorist organization in Turkey,
targeting Turkish government facilities and infrastructure. The PKK continues
to conduct attacks against Turkish security forces throughout Turkey,
occasionally harming bystanders. The Kurdistan
Freedom Falcons (TAK, the Kurdistan Freedom/Liberation Hawks/Falcons) group
presents itself as a splinter of the PKK and has taken responsibility for
attacks in major urban areas.
and the PKK have conducted large-scale attacks in the country, including
suicide bombings, ambushes, and the detonation of car bombs, improvised
explosive devices, and other homemade weapons, though there have been no
large-scale attacks since 2017.
Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) has targeted Turkish and
U.S. government facilities alike. The DHKP/C has stated its intention to commit
further acts against Turkey, NATO, and the United States. In February 2019,
Turkish security services apprehended one of two DHKP/C terrorists who evaded
capture after conducting a shooting attack against the U.S. Consulate General
in Istanbul in 2015. The individual had been on the run and in hiding for over
three years. In September 2019, the government
attributed an IED attack on a TNP bus to DHKP/C.
While al-Qa’ida, including its Syrian affiliates al-Nusrah Front
(ANF) and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), maintain a presence in Turkey, it has
not staged attacks recently. However, groups and individuals inspired by
al-Qa’ida might attempt to do so, placing U.S. and Turkish interests at risk.
The conflict in Syria and the renewed hostilities between Kurdish
terrorists and Turkish security forces in Kurdish-majority provinces of the
southeast continue to be of concern to the overall stability in the country’s southern
provinces. Since Turkey took a direct role in the war in Syria, terrorist
attacks and indirect fire such as mortars and rockets have increased throughout
seeking to travel into the eastern and southeastern parts of Turkey or near
Turkey’s borders with Syria, Iraq, and Iran should use extra caution. The U.S.
Government requires its employees to obtain prior approval before travel to
these areas and advises to avoid all travel to areas near the Syria and Iraq
borders due to the risk of terrorism.
Religious, and Ethnic Violence
U.S. Department of State has assessed Ankara as being a MEDIUM-threat location and Gaziantep as being a LOW-threat
location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S.
A failed coup challenged Turkey’s political stability in July
2016. The coup attempt was short-lived, despite its significant casualty count.
The Government of Turkey legally codified significant restrictions
on public and personal freedoms in the wake of the failed coup attempt, which
have restored stability but also reduced civil liberties, rights, and
protections. Turkey has enacted legislation to inflict harsh punishment for
illegal/violent protests; covering one’s face during a protest can result in a prison
sentence of up to 25 years. Turkey holds the second most journalists in
jail worldwide; strictly enforces libel and lese majesty laws; and, applies a
broad definition of anti-state terrorism. Review OSAC’s report, Lèse Majesté: Watching what you say (and type) abroad.
The Turkish populace is polarized between those who support the
ruling Justice & Development Party (AKP), founded by President Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan, and his opposition. Broad civilian resistance during the failed coup
demonstrated the populace’s commitment to civilian control of the government.
This, combined with the government removal of all combat arms units of the
Turkish military from major urban areas, indicates that coups are unlikely in
the near future. In the wake of the 2016 attempt, the government fired and/or
arrested several thousand members of the military and police services, and
purges of their ranks continue. Nonetheless, Turkish security forces maintain
robust capabilities, especially in the realm of counterterrorism.
next national elections are scheduled to take place in 2023, but snap elections
are possible. While large public demonstrations are possible, they have been
increasingly rare since the 2013 Gezi Park protests, and subject to increasing
police interference. The government of Turkey
frequently bans public gatherings and demonstrations on security grounds. Participation
in demonstrations not explicitly approved by the Government of Turkey, as well
as criticism of the government, including on social media, can result in
The Turkish government generally remains tolerant of its religious
and ethnic minorities, and provides increased levels of security support around
non-Sunni Islamic, Christian, and Jewish places of
worship in reaction to terror threats. However, Turkish society can be less
accepting of minorities. For example, in 2019, widespread ultra-nationalist
sentiment manifested itself through violent attacks against Syrian refugee,
Kurdish, and Alevi neighborhoods. Also, reaction to Israel-related policies and
actions enacted by Israel or other states deemed unfavorable for
Palestinians have led to spontaneous demonstrations
at synagogues. Since 2015, the government has taken security actions
that have negatively impacted some of its Kurdish nationals.
Turkey is home to the world’s largest refugee population, with 3.7
million Syrian refugees and more than 400,000 refugees and asylum seekers of
other nationalities. Fewer than 2% of these live in refugee camps, while the
others are assigned to live in. Incidents of societal violence directed against refugees and
persons in refugee-like conditions increased during the year. Authorities assign Syrian refugees to one of 62 “satellite
cities,” where they are supposed to receive services from local authorities
under the responsibility of provincial governorates. Ankara is home to approximately 50,000
the State Department’s webpage on security for faith-based
attempted coup, the Government of Turkey instituted a State of Emergency
powers to detain, investigate, and arrest its real and perceived opponents.
Authorities now can hold individuals in pretrial detention for extended periods
without charges. Although
the State of Emergency ended in 2018, detentions of individuals suspected of
plotting, participating, or being complicit in the coup attempt continue. Security forces have
detained tens of thousands of individuals, including U.S. nationals, for
alleged affiliation with terrorist organizations, based on scant or secret
evidence and grounds that appear politically motivated. Some U.S. nationals
have also been subject to exit bans preventing them from departing Turkey. This development
is of particular concern for dual-national U.S.-Turkish citizens. The
Government of Turkey considers any dual-national with Turkish citizenship a
citizen of Turkey first, without regard to their “secondary” country of
Turkish government also has unjustly detained Turkish citizens employed by the
U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul and the U.S. Consulate in Adana, as well as
other dual-national U.S.-Turkish citizens, on specious charges or without any
charge at all.
pro-government media outlets have pursued anti-U.S. rhetoric with
conspiratorial undertones, suggesting the United States is responsible for
bringing about increased political and economic instability in Turkey.
Inflammatory anti-U.S. rhetoric regularly appears in the Turkish press and
social media outlets. These accounts contain patently false accusations, for
example, that the United States supported the attempted coup, or that the
United States is conducting “economic terrorism” in Turkey.
protests have been minimal. Authorities require a permit to conduct a
demonstration. Although protests without permit are illegal, the police allow
some protests to go forward, providing a mechanism for protestors to deliver
their message peacefully while ensuring demonstrators remain well behaved. Avoid
areas of demonstrations. Review OSAC’s report, Surviving a Protest.
Turkey is a seismically active region,
with regular shocks measuring over 4.0 on the Richter scale. Many buildings do not meet Western seismic standards. Remain
cognizant of hardened cover in the case of a seismic event.
On September 26, 2019, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in
Istanbul, injuring 43 people, and resulting in one death due to a medically
Critical Infrastructure Concerns
life-support utilities function uninterrupted. Most modern offices and hotels
employ back-up generator systems.
Government of Turkey maintains the ability to reduce/eliminate Internet
and data connectivity. Known as “throttling,” the government reduced data
bandwidth to control protest activity organized on social media platforms in
2017 and again in 2019 during its operation in northern Syria. It banned
several social media platforms, claiming such moves are part of its
counterterrorism strategy, only restoring access to Wikipedia in December 2019.
Travelers with international roaming plans typically do not report
interruptions/denial of service, but should know that the Government of Turkey
is able to impair/disrupt wireless telecommunications. See OSAC’s report, How Government Oversight of Media and Communications Affects
Operations in Africa.
Department of State encourages travelers to stay in hotels with visible
security deterrence measures (e.g. metal detectors, other screening equipment)
at all vehicle and pedestrian access points. Nearly all Western-branded hotels
in Istanbul maintain on-site security personnel with robust ties to local law
enforcement elements. Turkish law requires foreign travelers to register passport
information with hotels upon check-in. Review OSAC’s report, Fire Safety Abroad.
Economic Concerns/Intellectual Property Theft
private-sector entities should obtain legal representation as an additional
precautionary and protective measure. Most U.S. private-sector interests with
legal counsel on retainer employ foreign firms operating under the banner of
Turkish-branded law firms, since Turkish law prohibits foreign law firms to
operate independently in Turkey.
Turkish economy experienced a sharp currency devaluation in 2018, and is still
experiencing consequences. Inflation and unemployment rates, especially youth
unemployment, remain high.
is a major source and transshipment point for counterfeit goods. Do not buy
counterfeit or pirated goods. Bootleg copies are illegal to bring into the
United States; purchasing them is illegal in Turkey. Counterfeit
pharmaceuticals are readily available without any prescription. Be aware of
packaging that appears to have been tampered with, contains misspelled words, or
consists of pills that have been clumsily “stamped” with name-brand
Personal Identity Concerns
against women, particularly femicides, increased compared with 2018 both
in rural and urban areas. The government does not effectively or fully enforce laws
concerning violence against women and sexual assault, including rape and
spousal rape, or protect victims. Courts in some cases have given
reduced sentences to some men found guilty of committing violence against
women, citing good behavior during the trial or “provocation” by women as an
extenuating circumstance of the crime. The problematic practice of “honor
killings” of women continues across the country, with 31 cases reported in 2019.
The prevalence of killings was most severe in the southeast. Gender-equality
organizations indicate that incidents of verbal harassment and physical
intimidation of women in public occur with regularity, and cite as the cause a
permissive social environment in which harassers are emboldened. In one
case, in September a woman physically attacked in Ankara reported that
authorities tried to legitimize the attack by questioning her during her
deposition about what she was wearing and whether the attack occurred late at
night. The Embassy is aware of multiple sexual assaults against U.S. citizens
in Turkey, including assaults against tourists traveling alone or in small
groups, and at spas and hamams. Review the State Department’s
webpage on security for female
transphobia, and intolerance towards homosexuality are widespread throughout
Turkey. Anti-discrimination laws do not protect LGBTI+ individuals, who have
been the targets of violence in recent years. Law enforcement officials
sometimes use references in the law relating to “offenses against public
morality,” “protection of the family,” and “unnatural sexual behavior” as a
basis for abuse. In addition, the law states that “no association may be
founded for purposes against law and morality,” a clause that authorities have
used in attempts to shut down or limit the activities of associations working
on LGBTI+ matters.
governors of Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya, Gaziantep, and Mersin issued
bans on public activities by LGBTI+ persons in 2019. In May and June, police
broke up public events related to Pride Month using batons, tear gas, water
cannons, and rubber bullets in Izmir and Istanbul. In Izmir and Istanbul, police
detained people for several hours in connection with the events. Police in
Ankara also responded to similar events with tear gas despite court rulings
that the governorate’s blanket ban on public events by LGBTI+ groups was not
legal. Activists report that despite the court’s ruling, the government
continues to impose individual bans on events and assemblies. Review the State
Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+
government considers followers of Fethullah Gülen to be members of the
“Fethullahist Terror Movement,” which Turkey has designated as a terror
organization. Individuals affiliated with the movement and related schools and
organizations overseas may encounter difficulties with law enforcement and
efforts to enter or leave the country.
on minority places of worship are rare. Anti-Semitic rhetoric continues in
print media and on social media. Alevis and Christians, including Armenian
Apostolics, remained the subject of hate speech and discrimination. The term
“Armenian” remained a common slur. According to the Hrant Dink Foundation’s
Media Watch on Hate Speech Report, an analysis of national and local newspapers
between January 1 and August 31 found 2,635 instances of published hate speech
that targeted national, ethnic, and religious groups. The most-targeted groups
were Syrians, Greeks, Jews, and Armenians. Atheists also remain the subject of
intimidation in progovernment media, albeit at a lower level relative to other
religious minorities. Review OSAC’s report, Freedom to Practice,
and the State Department’s webpage on security for faith-based
Turkish constitution prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities
in the provision of state services, employment, education, and access to health
care. However, access to buildings and public transportation for the disabled
in most cities is quite limited, and generally, accessibility for people with
disabilities in Turkey is poor. Airports and metro stations are typically
accessible, but buses are not. Review the State Department’s webpage on
security for travelers
than 15 million citizens are of Kurdish origin and speak Kurdish dialects.
Security force efforts against the PKK disproportionately affect Kurdish
communities in rural areas. Some predominantly Kurdish communities experience
government-imposed curfews, generally in connection with government security
operations aimed at clearing areas of PKK terrorists. Kurdish and pro-Kurdish
civil society organizations and political parties continue to experience
problems exercising freedoms of assembly and association. Hundreds of Kurdish
civil society organizations and Kurdish-language media outlets closed by
government decree in 2016 and 2017 after the coup attempt remain shut. In
October, the International Crisis Group reported nearly 5,000 persons,
including state security personnel, PKK-affiliated militants, civilians, and
individuals of unknown affiliation, have died in the conflict since mid-2015.
remains a significant transit country for illicit drug trafficking. Traffickers
generally move heroin and opium from Central Asia and Afghanistan to European
markets, and amphetamine-type stimulants to markets in the Middle East and
Southeast Asia. Turkish drug trafficking organizations have a growing presence in
South America and are trafficking substantial quantities of
cocaine from South America to Europe, Turkey, and Central Asia. Turkish
authorities continue to seize large amounts of opiates and hashish. Turkish law
enforcement agencies remain strongly committed to disrupting illicit drug
trafficking. Narcotics-related offenses carry stiff penalties, and Turkey
strictly prohibits narcotics use. Most drug-related crimes occur between drug
trafficking organizations, and violence does not often spill over to the
PKK is engaged in trafficking and marketing drugs. The PKK has an established
infrastructure and network to produce, transport, and traffic opiates and
cannabis from the Middle East through Turkey and throughout Europe. Material
evidence and intelligence sources have shown the PKK is also engaged in
laundering money from human and drug trafficking. The Turkish government
believes there should be a unified front in the fight against drug trafficking
and terrorism, as the illegal proceeds generated from the illicit drug trade
directly support terrorist organizations.
In recent years, there have been politically or criminally
motivated kidnappings involving Turkish politicians and citizens. In
2019, there were no kidnapping incidents of U.S. nationals or other Westerners
in Istanbul. However, due to the worldwide threat presented by extremist
organizations, the potential exists for extremist organizations to target Westerners
for kidnapping. ISIS has specifically threatened to
target U.S. nationals and Westerners for abduction. The kidnapping threat
is more likely in areas closer to the Syrian and Iraqi borders. Be aware of surroundings, and avoid large crowds, tourist
areas, and places where Westerners congregate. Review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics.
Article 301 of the
Turkish Penal Code makes it illegal to insult the Turkish state; Turkish
ethnicity; Turkish government institutions; the founder of modern-day Turkey,
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk; or the Turkish President. It is a crime to insult or to
deface statues and images of Atatürk or the Turkish flag, including its use on
clothing. Authorities enforce these laws vigorously. Citizens will take offense
at any perceived criticism or show of disrespect toward Atatürk. In addition,
insults or criticism on social media or otherwise against political figures,
including the president, are increasingly prosecuted in criminal courts.
Penalties include fines and imprisonment for up to two years. Foreigners are
not exempt. Review
OSAC’s report, Lèse Majesté: Watching what you
say (and type) abroad.
Turkish law has a broad definition
of “antiquities,” and makes it a crime to remove any from the country. If you
buy antiquities, use authorized dealers, and get museum certificates for each
item. Failure to have a receipt and certificate at departure can result
in arrest and jail time. Read the State Department’s webpage on customs and import restrictions for information on what you
cannot take into or out of other countries.
emergency line in Turkey is 155. To reach Jandarma,
for emergencies outside of major cities, call 156. Although only some police officers speak
English, operators will generally try to locate an English speaker in an
emergency. For local first responders, refer to the Embassy’s Emergency
Turkish National Police (TNP) is a highly trained, professionalized, and
capable security agency responsive to crimes
committed against foreigners. Employing almost 228,000 sworn police
officers, TNP is one of the largest public-sector
organizations in the country. It is the leading law enforcement organization,
and prides itself on providing professional police and security services to the
public. The Gendarmerie (Jandarma) is a paramilitary police force that
provides law enforcement services outside of major cities and in rural areas.
In the wake of increased threat from terrorism, the TNP provides a
highly visible uniformed presence in/around Ankara, to include crowded
locations of critical infrastructure (e.g. transportation hubs, shopping malls,
roadways). Police in Ankara do not typically have a working proficiency of
English; however, travelers can work through their local/regional security
managers or hotel security when looking to engage with police on non-emergency
U.S. Consulate officers have experienced several challenges
associated with obtaining access to U.S. nationals detained on the grounds of alleged
connections to elements deemed subversive to the Turkish state. The Government
of Turkey typically requires approval through diplomatic channels before
granting consular access, and does not routinely grant consular access to
detained U.S. nationals who also possess Turkish citizenship. Download
the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.
medical emergency line in Turkey is 112.
contact information for available medical services and available air ambulance
services on the U.S.
U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health
insurance before traveling internationally. Review the State Department’s webpage
care provided in Turkish hospitals varies greatly. Though new private hospitals
in Ankara, Antalya, Izmir and Istanbul have modern facilities, equipment,
numerous U.S.-trained specialists, and international accreditation, some still
may be unable to treat certain serious conditions. Health care standards are
lower in small cities in Turkey.
private hospitals recognize international travel insurance. The U.S. Department
of State strongly recommends purchasing international health insurance before
traveling internationally. Review the State Department’s webpage on insurance
traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Turkey to
ensure the medication is legal in Turkey. Always carry your prescription
medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. Some
medications may be unavailable in Turkey. Review OSAC’s report, Traveling with
and hotels catering to foreign clientele maintain excellent hygiene standards. Nevertheless,
travelers should not drink tap water in Turkey. Review OSAC’s report, I’m
Drinking What in My Water?
travelers should have received measles vaccinations prior to travel to Turkey. The
CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Turkey.
OSAC’s reports, The Healthy Way,
Shaken: The Don’ts of
Alcohol Abroad, and Health 101: How to Prepare for Travel.
OSAC Country Council
is no active Country Council in Ankara. Contact OSAC’s Europe team for more information or to join
the Istanbul Council.
U.S. Embassy Contact
110 Ataturk Boulevard,
Business hours: 0830 – 1730 (closed
on U.S. and Turkish holidays)
Emergency after-hours telephone: +90-312-455-5555.
Marine Security Guard Post One: +90-312-457-7221
Other U.S. Diplomatic Posts In Turkey
Consulate Adana, Girne Bulvari No:212 Guzelevler Mah. Yüreğir, Adana.
Consulate Istanbul, Istinye Mahallesi, Üç Şehitler Sokak No. 2, Istinye, 34460
you travel, consider the following resources:
OSAC Risk Matrix
OSAC Travelers Toolkit
State Department Traveler’s Checklist
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
State Department Turkey Country Information Page