Is it safe to travel to Turkey right now? Latest advice to UK holidaymakers as Foreign Office warns of 'high' terror threat

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The Foreign Office has issued a Turkey travel warning to UK holidaymakers over a "high threat" of a terrorist attack

The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Turkey warning UK tourists of a “high threat” of a terrorist attack. The updated warning was issued on Friday (1 March) telling holidaymakers to be extra careful, listing some places in the country that might be risky especially due to past attacks.

The latest advice from the Foreign Office (FO) states: "There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times."

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It adds that most terrorist attacks “have occurred in southeast Turkey, Ankara and Istanbul” and holidaymakers should remain aware of their surroundings, keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities. Attacks could be out of the blue and happen in places where lots of people go, like public buildings, religious sites, airports, and during big events or holidays.

The Foreign Office has issued a Turkey travel warning to UK holidaymakers over a "high threat" of a terrorist attack. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)The Foreign Office has issued a Turkey travel warning to UK holidaymakers over a "high threat" of a terrorist attack. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
The Foreign Office has issued a Turkey travel warning to UK holidaymakers over a "high threat" of a terrorist attack. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

The FO advises British tourists to be alert to potential demonstrations across Turkey, as tensions flare over the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The department warned: "Occasional demonstrations can occur in cities and may become violent. Police have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protests. 

“Events in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories have led to heightened tensions in the region and demonstrations are ongoing in locations across Turkey. Large demonstrations have been reported outside diplomatic missions connected to the conflict in major cities, particularly Israeli diplomatic missions in Ankara and Istanbul."

Tourists are being advised to “avoid all demonstrations and leave the area if one develops.” The FO highlighted that there have been a number of recent significant attacks in Istanbul including in February when one person was killed in an armed attack on the Çağlayan courthouse by the terrorist group DHKP/C. 

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In January one person was killed by two gunmen in the Santa Maria Catholic Church in Sariyer in an attack claimed by Daesh and in 2022, six people were killed in an explosion in central Istanbul. Alongside the threat of a terrorist attack, the FO is also warning of street robbery and pick-pocketing in the major tourist areas of Istanbul, drink spiking and sexual assault. The FO says last year 42 cases of sexual assault, including rape, were reported to British consular staff in Turkey with most cases happening during summer holidays in coastal tourist areas. 

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