Many people ask me if it’s safe to visit Turkey now with all the turmoil in eastern Mediterranean countries: civil war in Syria and Libya, tension in Egypt and Israel, economic crisis in Greece.
I answer their question with a question: if there were trouble in Havana, would you cancel your trip to New York?
They laugh as though I’ve told a joke, but I’m serious. It’s the same thing: trouble in Country “B” 1500 miles away shouldn’t affect your travel plans to Country “A”.
I’m writing this from Istanbul in late March 2012. It’s as beautiful and welcoming as ever. No trouble. People here know what’s going on in Syria and other countries the same way I do: by watching the news and reading the newspapers. Other than that, there’s no effect.
It’s important to judge travel safety rationally, not emotionally.
The true dangers of travel, domestic or foreign, are such things as highway accidents, hurricanes, lightning strikes, earthquakes, etc. Statistically, you are more likely to be bitten by a shark while swimming or to be injured while skiing than you are to suffer from an act of war or a terrorist attack.
Here are some statistics indicating that travelers are more liable to be harmed in bus, train and airplane accidents, earthquake, lightning strike, skiing accidents, etc. than by political activity.
These more mundane dangers should carry much more weight when you make your travel decisions.
Most visitors find that they have concerns about safety only before their trip, and after they arrive at their destination they experience the normal daily life of the place, and don’t think of danger at all—unless there’s a headline.
Here is the US Department of State’s Consular Information Sheet on Turkey, with every possible warning and caution.
Read the TTP Safety Page, and make travel decisions you can be comfortable with.