Travel warning issued for Turkey holidays

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Turkey is one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations. The UK Government has updated its advice for tourists holidaying in Istanbul.

The UK Government said: “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Turkey.

“Terrorist groups, including PKK, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) and far left organisations, continue to plan and carry out attacks.

“Further attacks could be indiscriminate. Most attacks have taken place in the south-east of the country, and in Ankara and Istanbul.

“There is a potential that citizens from western countries may be targets or caught up in attacks, particularly in the major cities.

“There is currently a heightened threat of terrorist attacks against churches, synagogues, Embassies/Consulates and other places frequented by Westerners in Istanbul.

“The British Consulate General in Istanbul is currently not open to the public as a precaution.

“The Turkish authorities are investigating. You should exercise caution and follow the advice of local security authorities, monitor media reports and keep up to date with this travel advice.”

Istanbul suffered a terrorist attack on one of its busiest shopping streets on November 13, which killed six people.

Turkish authorities blamed Kurdish separatists for the attack in which 80 people were also injured.

The British Government’s update followed a similar warning from the US Embassy which advised travellers to “stay alert”.

It said: “The US Government cautions its citizens of possible imminent retaliatory attacks by terrorists against churches, synagogues, and diplomatic missions in Istanbul or other places Westerners frequent, especially in the Beyoglu, Galata, Taksim or Istiklal areas.”

The US Embassy advised travellers to avoid crowds, keep a low profile and be aware of their surroundings.

British travellers are also advised against all travel to areas within 10km of Turkey’s border with Syria.

They are advised against all but essential travel to the province of Hakkari and should take “extreme care” if they need to go there.

Earlier this year, tourists were warned of the risk of sexual assault in several of the country’s coastal areas.

The UK Government said that 51 cases of sexual assault had been reported to British consular staff in Turkey.

Many of these incidents occurred at night and were committed by someone the victim had met in the day.

The Government warned that there had been several attacks on minors visiting toilet facilities alone.

In 2022, British nationals made over 3.3 million visits to Turkey and the majority were trouble free.

Tourists should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities and their holiday or tour provider.

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