This Advice was last issued on Friday, 21 August 2015. There have been a number of security incidents in Istanbul in August 2015 (see Safety and security). The overall level of advice has not changed. We continue to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Turkey.
- We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Turkey because of the high threat of terrorist attack. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about possible new security risks.
- Terrorist attacks can occur anywhere at any time in Turkey. In recent years, terrorist attacks have occurred in tourist areas and locations frequented by foreigners. See Safety and security.
- Security incidents in Istanbul in August 2015 underscore the ongoing threat of violence in Turkey. On 10 August, attacks were launched on a police station in the Sultanbeyli area and on the US Consulate in the Istinye area. On 19 August, an attack on guards stationed outside the Dolmabahce palace reportedly injured six. Australians in Istanbul should remain vigilant in public places.
- On 27 July 2015, Turkish authorities warned of possible threats to public transport in Istanbul, particularly metro stations along the Yanikapi-Taksim route, and stops on the Metrobus line. Authorities are reportedly searching for a number of vehicles laden with explosives.
- We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to any area within 50 kilometres of Turkey’s border with Syria and not to travel within 10 kilometres of the border with Syria due to the threat of terrorist attack and kidnapping associated with the ongoing conflict in Syria. Turkish security forces have a strong presence in these border areas.
- There is an increased threat of terrorist attack throughout Turkey as a result of the conflict in Syria and Iraq. The threat is highest along Turkey’s long and porous border with Syria. However, attacks are possible elsewhere in Turkey including in major centres of Ankara and Istanbul.
- On 20 July 2015 a suicide bomb attack in Suruc (near Sanliurfa), close to the Syrian border, killed 32 people and injured many more. There has been a spike in violent incidents involving Kurdish militants in border areas in the wake of this bombing.
- There is an increased threat of kidnapping in the regions bordering Syria. Terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq have demonstrated their capability and inclination to kidnap and murder westerners. These groups have the capability to extend their operations across the border into Turkey.
- There has been a significant influx of refugees into Turkey from Syria and Iraq. There are currently an estimated two million refugees in Turkey. You should be aware of the potential for conflict between refugees and locals throughout Turkey and exercise particular caution at times of heightened tensions.
- We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to all areas within the southeastern provinces of Batman, Bingol, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hakkari, Hatay, Kilis, Mardin, Mus, Sanliurfa, Siirt, Sirnak, Tunceli and Van, due to the unpredictable security situation. The situation is more dangerous at night and in rural areas.
- Protests have occurred sporadically in major cities in Turkey since May 2013. There were several violent attacks on the offices of political parties during the lead up to the 7 June 2015 elections. Further disturbances are possible in response to political developments. These may form without warning and quickly turn violent. Australians should avoid all protests and demonstrations throughout Turkey.
- There has been an increase in the number of violent sexual assaults against female tourists travelling alone or in small groups in popular tourist areas of Turkey, including in Istanbul and coastal resort areas such as Antalya.
- The unauthorised sale and exportation of antiquities is prohibited and carries long jail sentences. You need a receipt and an official certificate to export these items legally.
- See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
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