Is it safe to travel to Eastern Turkey in 2023?
Eastern Turkey offers a wealth of historical and cultural attractions for travelers, but recent seismic activity in the region has raised concerns about safety and many travelers want to know if travel is still possible.
Continue reading to learn about the February 2023 earthquake, current travel recommendations, and important information for prospective travelers considering a visit to Eastern Turkey and Southeastern Anatolia.
February 2023 Earthquake
On February 6th, 2023, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Eastern Turkey near Gaziantep, causing a significant number of casualties along with immense damage to structures and property in the area. A series of aftershocks, including a magnitude 7.6 earthquake caused further destruction.
Recovery efforts are ongoing, and local authorities are working tirelessly to restore the affected areas. It's essential for travelers to stay informed about the situation in Eastern Turkey and follow the latest travel recommendations from their home country's government.
Recent Travel Recommendations
In light of the February 2023 earthquake, many governments have updated their travel advisories for Eastern Turkey. It's crucial for prospective travelers to consult these advisories, as they provide information on affected areas, safety risks, and recommended precautions. Travelers should also stay updated on local news and register with their embassy or consulate upon arrival in Turkey.
Which Areas are Currently Closed for Tourism?
A total of 10 provinces are currently closed due to the declaration of a state of emergency.
They are Adana, Adıyaman, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Malatya, Şanlıurfa, and Osmaniye.
Tourism is currently restricted to these provinces until the infrastructure and safety have been restored.
Alternative Travel Destinations
Until travel is restored, consider alternative travel destinations within Turkey that have not been affected.
Turkey's most famous and frequently visited destinations, including Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya, and the Aegean coastline, were not impacted by the earthquake. These areas continue to offer their stunning attractions, such as Hagia Sophia, the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, and the pristine beaches of the Turkish Riviera, all while maintaining their usual high standards of safety and hospitality.
Read more about our top tours of Turkey.
Turkey is situated in a seismically active region due to its position between the Eurasian and Arabian tectonic plates. As these plates move and interact, they create stress that can lead to earthquakes. While most earthquakes in Turkey are minor, some can be more significant, as demonstrated by the February 2023 tragedy and the 1999 Izmit quake.
Earthquake Preparedness in Turkey
Turkey has made significant progress in improving its earthquake preparedness and infrastructure, particularly since the 1999 earthquake. The country has introduced stricter building codes and invested in earthquake-resistant construction, which has benefited popular tourist destinations.
Stay informed about the latest activity in Eastern Turkey by following local news outlets and your country’s embassy website for real-time updates about when travel will be restored to the affected region.
Read more about safe visits to Turkey and join our Facebook group to connect with residents of Turkey as well as other travelers.
While the recent earthquake in Eastern Turkey has undoubtedly raised concerns about traveling in Turkey, being informed and prepared can make a significant difference in ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip. Until travel is restored to the affected area, there are many other amazing destinations that await you.