It's been nearly two weeks since an attempted military coup ripped through Turkey, killing more than 290, injuring another 1,400 and bringing the arrest of over 6,000 Turks. While Turkey, and its leader, President Tayyip Erdogan, attempt to restore order and return to normalcy, here's what you need to know about visiting Turkey post-coup.
How is the security situation?
Turkey is still reeling from the attempted coup, and the country remains potentially volatile for
travelers. World leaders are appealing to Erdogan to not use the coup as an excuse to deviate from laws, but such pleas seem useless, considering the Turkish President has dismissed some 3,000 judges, barred 3 million civil servants from leaving the country, and is trying to reinstate the death penalty.
Even before the attacks the country has struggled to combat an onslaught of terrorist attacks,
largely in Ankara, the capital, and Istanbul. Just last month Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport was the target of ISIS suicide bombers who killed 41.
Is it finally safe?
About 800,000 Americans visit Turkey every year, and most of them never encounter a problem worse than mild indigestion from daily kebabs. Though travel is generally safe and the U.S. flights have continued operations into Turkey, following the attempted coup, the Department of State warns citizens to “reconsider travel to Turkey at this time.” Additionally, due to increased threats of terrorism near the Syrian border, the US recommends avoiding all travel to southeastern Turkey.
What to do if you're still going to Turkey?
Though the U.S. advises against travel to Turkey, many of the country’s coastal resorts, where a large faction of tourists go, do not appear to be affected by the coup violence or the numerous terrorist attacks, which have largely targeted Istanbul and Ankara, over the past year.
So if you plan on continuing your trip, register with STEP, within the State Department, which
will send you important information about safety conditions in Turkey and help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency.
So what changes have happened in Turkey? Here’s a quick timeline, thanks to the help of Reddit, of course, of Turkish institutional changes post-coup:
-Turkey temporarily suspends European Convention on human rights
-All Turkish academics banned from traveling abroad
-245 Sports Ministry personnel suspended
-300 Energy Ministry and 184 Custom Ministry employees dismissed
-8 top-level parliamentary executives removed
-Education Ministry suspends 6,538 in second wave of dismissals
-Education Ministry shuts down 626 educational institutions, mostly private
-3,213 ham radio licenses revoked
-30 governors of 99 fired
-Talks of reinstating the death penalty
-180 intelligence officials (MIT, Turkey's national intelligence agency) suspended
-Demand for all 1,577 University Deans resignation, 21,000 private teachers licenses revoked and 15,200 Ministry of Education personnel fired
-257 personnel at PM's office dismissed & ID's seized
-492 state religious personnel (Diyanet) removed
-24 news/media outlets broadcast licenses withdrawn
-393 personnel in Ministry of Family and Social Policy dismissed
-86 Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) employees and 51 Borsa Istanbul
(national stock exchange)*employees dismissed
-All Turks require extra documentation to travel outside country
-1,500 Finance Ministry officials suspended
-3,000,000 civil servants banned from going on holiday/leaving country
-9000 in Interior Ministry, including 7,899 police officers, fired
-2,745 judges dismissed
-140 members of the Supreme Court and 48 members of the Council of State (the highest court) arrested
Tom is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? but with more sunscreen and jorts.