Is Turkey Safe to Travel?

Last Updated on March 28, 2024

Is Turkey Safe to Travel? 2024 Update

Is Turkey safe to travel to now? Safety is a major concern for any traveler, and Turkey, with its rich history and natural wonders, is no exception.

The bottom line is yes, Turkey is safe to travel to in 2024. In fact, many visitors are surprised to find that the general level of personal safety in Turkey is higher than in many popular European destinations.

In this comprehensive guide, learn more about the best ways to travel safely in Turkey as well as specific safety recommendations for different regions as well as different types of travelers.

Key Takeaways

  • Turkey is considered a safe destination for tourists, with friendly locals and a strong security framework in place to ensure public safety, but travelers are advised to exercise vigilance and stay informed about safety measures.
  • Travel advisories from the US and UK stress the need for increased caution near the border with Syria.
  • While generally safe, travelers in Turkey should be cautious of petty crimes such as pickpocketing in tourist areas, and scams that can target foreign visitors, and there are additional personal safety measures for different types of travelers like solo explorers, female travelers, or LGBTQ+ individuals.

Is it Safe to Visit Turkey with the Conflict in Israel & Palestine? Is it Safe for Americans to Visit Turkey Now?

One of the first things at the top of travelers' concerns is regional conflicts. Travelers might worry that Turkey is too close to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. If one were to drive from Istanbul to Israel, it would take nearly a full day as it is a distance of nearly 1200 miles (1900km).

The security situation in Turkey has not been affected due to this conflict. As a traveler, you face no increased risk due to the war in Gaza.

Just as in many countries, there have been some protests and marches. As a general rule, it's wise to stay away from any large protest or rally in any country if you are a foreign visitor.

What about the War between Ukraine and Russia?

Although on a map Turkey looks close to Ukraine, the Black Sea separates both of these countries. In fact, Turkey controls access along its own border with the Black Sea via the Bosphorus Strait. This is due to the Montreux Convention which dictates access of ships through this strait.

Keep in mind that Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952. There have been no security issues in Turkey due to the war in Ukraine and Russia.

Is Turkey Safe for Tourists?

The charm of Turkey draws travelers to its vibrant bazaars, stunning beaches, and historical marvels. But is Turkey safe? The answer is a reassuring yes, with official sources confirming it as a secure destination for tourists. No matter where you visit, from the historical city of Istanbul to the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, you will feel welcomed here.

Join our Facebook group to connect with fellow travelers and local experts.

Friendly Locals and Hospitality

Turkish hospitality frequently leads to tales of outstanding kindness and friendships formed during a visit to the country. Locals are known for their eagerness to assist and welcome visitors with open arms, reflecting the deep-rooted cultural ethos of misafirperverlik — a tradition of treating guests as honored members of the community.

Prevalent Safety Measures

Rest assured of the robust security framework as you explore the wonders of Turkey. Turkish security forces, including Turkish security personnel, are empowered with extensive legal authority to ensure public safety, reassuring travelers of a secure environment. Nonetheless, the wisdom of exercising good judgment and vigilance remains pertinent; keeping abreast with local news and carrying identification are part of the advised measures that complement the Turkish government’s proactive stance on safety.

Travel Warnings and Advisories

Staying informed is crucial for prudent travel. Use current advisories as your guide to safely navigate through Turkey, a country visited by tens of thousands of tourists each year. They underscore the importance of heightened awareness due to the threat of terrorist attacks, particularly in areas closer to neighboring conflict zones like Syria. Make sure to monitor local media for the latest information.

These advisories are not a deterrent but a guide to help you plan a safe and enjoyable journey, reinforcing the need to exercise increased caution in certain regions and consider obtaining an international driving permit if necessary.

Read more about the most recent government updates.

US State Department Advisory

Echoing the need for vigilance, the US Department of State’s advisory urges travelers to be particularly cautious due to the potential risks of terrorism and arbitrary detentions. Certain provinces, such as Sirnak and Hakkari, are flagged for their proximity to conflict, and travelers are encouraged to stay informed about the political landscape.

UK Foreign Office Advisory

In a similar vein, the UK Foreign Office deems most of Turkey safe for travel, while advising against journeys to areas immediately adjacent to the Syrian border and specific southeastern provinces. Awareness of local demonstrations, which can occasionally escalate in cities like Ankara and Istanbul, is also recommended as a measure of prudence.

Emergency Assistance and Consular Support

Knowing how to access assistance could prove vital in the unlikely event of an emergency. Turkey’s infrastructure ensures that help is just a phone call away, and consular support for foreign nationals is readily available.

Familiarize yourself with Turkey’s emergency numbers. Whether it’s a medical situation, a need for police intervention, or a fire emergency, quick access to services is assured.

Local Emergency Numbers:

General emergency/ ambulance: 112

Fire: 110

Police: 155

Consular Support

Consular support is a critical resource for travelers in need of assistance. Australian citizens, for example, have multiple points of contact within Turkey to seek help, from the embassy in Ankara to consulates in other cities. Americans can enroll in the STEP program to register their travels and find information on the nearest embassy.

Crime Rates and Safety Concerns

Questions of safety are undeniably brought to the forefront when navigating a foreign country. While Turkey’s crime rates have seen an uptick, it remains a relatively safe destination for tourists when held up against global standards. Petty crimes, such as pickpocketing, are the most frequent issues travelers may encounter, particularly in crowded markets and famed tourist destinations.

Petty Crimes

Maintaining vigilance in busy tourist hotspots is crucial for preventing petty crimes. Istanbul does have some issues with pickpockets who often employ sleight-of-hand or distraction tactics. By keeping valuables discreetly tucked away and maintaining a heightened sense of awareness, you can safeguard your belongings and enjoy the city’s wonders with peace of mind.

Scams and Fraud

Unfortunately, the global travel experience is often marred by scams and fraud, and Turkey is not exempt from this issue. Vigilance against credit card skimming and ATM fraud is necessary, as is skepticism towards too-good-to-be-true currency exchange rates and unsolicited approaches that may lead to exorbitant bills or theft.

You may also have heard of some scams such as the "let's have a drink" scam in which male travelers are led into a bar and charged an exorbitant fee for drinks and pressured to pay. There are also some scams that involve a shoe shine dropping a brush on the street. The "grateful" shoe shiner will then insist on cleaning your shoes for "free" before demanding a hefty tip.

Most of the time, however, if someone approaches you in public in a busy tourist area in Istanbul, he or she is most likely trying to sell souvenirs or to invite you into a Turkish rug gallery. While not dangerous, you may find yourself unintentionally sipping tea while colorful rugs are cascading around you and it can be difficult to pull yourself away from these charismatic salesmen. Touts in the Grand Bazaar can also walk the line between persuasive and pushy. It's generally wise to steer clear of any salespeople who make you feel uneasy.

The biggest concern for most travelers is taxis in Istanbul. Taxi drivers are infamous for adding on additional charges or taking a longer route than necessary. It's wise to pre-arrange a private transfer from the airport to your hotel. Also, make use of Istanbul's vast public transportation network. There are applications such as BiTaksi which allow you to book a taxi at a fixed price.

Regions to Exercise Caution

Certain regions in Turkey require extra caution as you chart your course through the country. The southeastern provinces, due to their proximity to conflict zones, and areas affected by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, require an extra degree of caution.

It’s through understanding these nuances that one can fully embrace the vibrant tapestry of Turkey’s diverse regions while prioritizing personal safety. Read more about the 2023 earthquake.

Southeastern Provinces

The southeastern provinces of Turkey, brimming with cultural depth, also present a tangible risk due to potential terrorist activities and the spillover effects from neighboring conflicts. Heed travel advisories and respect the local guidance to avoid areas within a close radius of the Syrian border, ensuring a journey that is as safe as it is enriching.

Earthquake-Affected Areas

Turkey is no stranger to seismic activity and introduced stricter building codes in 1999 (and again in 2018) to ensure buildings can hold up to earthquakes. Earthquakes are unpredictable, and statistically unlikely to affect travelers, compared to other risks. However, safety-conscious travelers may prefer to stay in newer buildings with improved safety regulations.

Safety Tips for Different Types of Travelers

Solo Travelers

For the intrepid solo traveler, Turkey offers a wealth of opportunities for self-discovery and connection. Maintaining personal boundaries, avoiding less-frequented areas after dark, and sharing travel plans with trusted individuals back home are key strategies for a secure solo journey.

Female Travelers

Women traveling alone can find Turkey to be a welcoming and safe destination, provided they:

  • Stay vigilant in public spaces
  • Adhere to local customs
  • Opt for reputable transport services
  • Dress modestly in a mosque and in conservative regions

These small, yet significant steps can make a big difference in comfort and security, especially when faced with situations that come with little or no warning. Modest dress would be appreciated in cities such as Konya, but you can dress freely in Istanbul and along the Aegean and Mediterranean Coasts. Read more in our guide on what to wear in Turkey and our guidance for women travelers.

LGBTQ+ Travelers

While Turkey’s legal stance on homosexuality is one of tolerance, social conservatism can vary, particularly in rural areas. Public displays of affection, even among heterosexual couples, are less common in Turkish society. LGBTQ+ travelers will find that discretion and selecting LGBTQ+ friendly accommodations can pave the way for a journey that is both enjoyable and secure.

Health and Medical Safety

Vaccinations and Health Risks

Shielding oneself against health risks in Turkey starts with being up-to-date on routine vaccines. With the rise in measles cases across Europe, securing this vaccination prior to travel is critical. Additionally, consider vaccinations against Hepatitis A and B, and Typhoid, especially if your travels take you off the beaten path.

Medical Facilities and Services

Turkey’s healthcare landscape is a blend of public and private facilities, with medical tourism on the rise due to high standards of medical treatment, particularly in its cosmopolitan hubs. Rural areas may offer a different picture, highlighting the importance of comprehensive travel insurance that includes medical evacuation coverage.

Transportation Safety

Public Transport

Public transportation in Turkey’s major cities, especially in metropolitan areas, is a reliable and safe way to navigate the urban landscape. With services like Istanbul’s metro and tram lines under constant security supervision, you can travel with confidence.


Taxis and ridesharing services form the backbone of Turkey’s transportation network for many travelers. While generally safe, it’s crucial to ensure that the service is authorized and that you take necessary precautions to avoid common scams, as Turkish law requires drivers to follow strict regulations. If you rent a car, be sure that you have adequate insurance and take caution when driving. Read more about driving in Turkey.

Cultural Awareness and Local Laws

Dress Code and Behavior

Dress and behavior are integral aspects of cultural immersion. In Turkey, adapting to local customs, especially in conservative and religious areas, can foster meaningful interactions and help you blend in seamlessly. Read more about what to wear.

Legal Considerations

Staying informed about legal considerations, including Turkish law, is crucial for a hassle-free stay in Turkey. A firm stance against illegal drugs and awareness of photography restrictions are just a couple of examples of local laws to be mindful of. It’s essential to respect and follow the guidelines set by local authorities.


Turkey remains a destination where the curious and cautious traveler can find both solace and excitement, with its myriad landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture waiting to be discovered.

Still have questions? Join our Facebook group and connect with other travelers.

How safe is Turkey for tourists?

Turkey is generally safe for tourists, but it's advisable to avoid the far southeast region due to recent violence and crime. Stay informed about potential risks before traveling.

Visit our Facebook group:

You’re forwarded to tekce.com


You will be redirected
in 3 seconds...

Please wait to continue or Cancel

Skip to toolbar