Before straightforwardly jumping to the answer of “Is Turkey Safe to visit?”, we think the shifting paradigm of transnational threats posed by non-state actors needs to be fathomed. As can be observed from the current developments in international fora, the basic characteristics of majority of conflicts are that they are not mostly between states, but intra-state.
Although states remain to be the main actors of international relations, non-state actors incrementally manage to make their voice heard, in either negative or affirmative ways.
As the permeability of territorial borders has grown, the mobility of an individual or a group committed to destabilize a region or terrorize a society has notably increased. The rapid advent of technology and astonishingly quick spread of the skills and know-how have increased their capacity to inflict damage to life and property. In a nutshell, we regret to having to recall you that the emergence of ill-minded non-state actors in an intertwined globalized world equipped with brand new cyber and kinetic weapons have brought about new challenges and threats for states, obliging them to adjust their security perceptions and devise security policies accordingly.
To return to the question, which forms the title of this article, Turkey is as unsafe as London where terrorists attacked at London Bridge and Borough Market claimed 7 lives, or Berlin where a truck was deliberately driven into the Christmas market, leaving 12 people dead and 56 others injured, or Paris which suffered a series of heinous terror attacks in November 2015, or Brussels bombings in 2016.
We mean that Turkey is not immune from threats, which have been wreaking havoc the whole world. On the other hand, we acknowledge that Turkey has a proximity to the civil war-torn Syria or ISIS-captured cities of Iraq and that this puts Turkey in an at-most-risk countries.
Howerer, with its experienced police forces and army and resilient population, Turkey has been conducting its counter-terrorism operations in a very organized and skillful manner, forestalling terrorists before their intention turns into action. Counter-terror operations simultaneously, continuously and resolutely carried out in several cities helped Turkey live through a relatively quiet and peaceful year. It is also worthwhile to note that Turkey’s defensive operations beyond its southern borders have stabilized both its southern cities and adjacent regions in northern Iraq and Syria.
All in all, Turkey is doing a great job in confronting and adapting to the newly emerging threats to its national security and stability.
With that in mind, we very welcome tourists, suggest them to plan their travels to our beautiful country in advance, and enjoy the safety of the coastal and touristic areas where our security forces particularly strive to protect. In addition, we strongly recommend visitors to display vigilance, particularly in areas where crowds may gather, and stay away from any demonstrations. In addition, we also recommend paying close attention to security warnings to be issued by the Turkish authorities, embassies and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your nationality.
Since Turkey is in a state of emergency, there is a larger than usual number of police checkpoints on main roads across the country. Therefore, co-operating with officials conducting checks, and keeping your passport and a printed copy of your e-visa or your residence permit with you at all times would expedite the checking process and thus facilitate your visit in Turkey.Lastly, although the majority of Turkey remains free from travel restrictions, we caution against all travel to within 10 kilometers of the border with Syria, and all but essential travel to some southern regions, where security forces are operating against the PKK.