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Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

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Aug 27th, 2013, 12:12 PM
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Travelers to Turkey within the next few weeks or months should review following facts and ask any questions they wish :

Fact 1. Turkish lira has depreciated by about 10% over the last few months.
Fact 2. There has been a reduction in the number of incoming tourists, resulting in lower lodging prices.
Fact 3. Major hotel chains have been opening new property all over Turkey, making point redemption stays easier.
Fact 3. Local flights are cheap and good.
Fact 4 : Inter-city public bus service is good cheap and frequent
Fact 5. There are reasonably frequent minibus services to small towns and villages from larger cities.
Fact 6 Turkish cuisine caters to veggies as well as meat lovers and budget restaurants abound although gourmet restaurants are few.

Fact 7. The Turkish Government considers students, writers, reporters, journalists, opposition politicians, foreign politicians, international and local intellectuals and artists as threats.
Fact 8. The Turkish security and legal systems serve the government rather than the individual.
Fact 9. There is no real understanding of democracy (they only know of the ballot box), human rights (their rights only), or freedom of opinion and expression.
Fact 10. This government is interested in following the United States created tenets of "Moderate Islam" whic has caused havoc in most parts of North Africa and the Middle East.
Fact 11. "The government seems to be under the impression that the United States is aiding them to establish the Ottoman Empire again. Based on that belief and having been shown multiple times as the only country with "moderate islam" and "democracy" for other Islamic countries to emulate, they think that they are special.
Fact 12. This has resulted in Turkey making enemies of almost all of its Southern, Eastern and Northern neighbors, except for Georgia and Bulgaria.

Fact 13. As a result of the last three facts above, the people of Turkey and visitors are under possible threat from neighbors or terrorists commissioned by these neighbors with whom the country has over one thousand miles of land borders, most of which is impossible to fully patrol.

Fact 14. In the last two weeks, seven large groups of smugglers ranging from 600 to 4000 strong, some on foot, some on horseback and some on vehicles, have been repulsed by the armed forces at various points on the 560 mile Syrian border. This probably means that other groups may not have been seen and may have sneaked throuhgh, especially those in smaller numbers.

In view of the above :

- Cost of traveling to and inside Turkey has reduced.

- There are no real internal risks to any specific peoples, nationalities, beliefs, etc.

- Risks because of external threats have increased.

- Risks in Southeastern Turkey are high and Eastern Turkey are also increasing.

- Standard tourist destinations, Western Mediterranean, Cappadocia, Istanbul are fine
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Aug 27th, 2013, 12:28 PM
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I still want to go.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 12:41 PM
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I'm leaving Thursday for a cruise that departs Istanbul on Saturday. I truly wish I wasn't going which is very sad. (No trip insurance and no lectures please. I feel bad enough.) People plan trips for months, and for some even years, and to not want to go is just horrible. I know things can happen anywhere but, it just seems like the area is the wrong place to be right now.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 12:57 PM
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We traveled in Turkey in May 2003 just two months after the Iraq war started. Everyone told us not to go, the threat was too great, etc.

We could not have had a more wonderful trip. It is among our top of many.

Everyone in Turkey was so wonderful , went out of their way to make us feel welcome, and reassured us that no one wanted any trouble for Americans (or anyone else) there.

I hope your trip is wonderful for you too.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 02:26 PM
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Wow, thanks for taking the time to share this information. It is very helpful.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 02:28 PM
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Iluvparis,

I am sorry if you think things look bad, but they are not, especially if you are going to be in Istanbul.

Istanbul is a terrific city. It is nowhere near to being a dangeros one like New Orleans or New York or Washington DC, let alone Detroit.

I had planned to go to Myanmar in 1998 and did not because of the military government, spending all our vacation in Thailand. Have regretted my decision ever since.

You will have terrific food, the best tomatoes ever, excellent baklava, at Gulluoglu on your way towards Galata bridge from the cruise ship docks, incredible photographic opportunities. some hot weather, almost as many antique sites as in Rome. It is a pity that you have only two days or less here.

I started this thread to warn adventurers who may be considering going close to the Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian borders. Those borders are 600-1100 miles away. very long distances in European terms. So please do not worry. You will find some very friendly people here who will go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 03:22 PM
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Thanks all. Yes, I already have been helped by many with my preliminary planning. We're going on a Windstar Cruise that departs Istanbul on Saturday. My friend and I are flying in the day before. I'm not a cruise person but my friend loves them so that's how we're going. I think I was more excited about seeing Istanbul than any of the ports on this cruise (it criss crosses between Greece & Turkey). I'm hoping that once I get there I'll forget about all that's going on.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 05:03 PM
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Regarding the protests-from what I hear it's really died down in Istanbul and if you stay the old town I doubt you would even know about them.

Secondly, we traveled in Turkey during the Syrian conflict and wouldn't have even know it was happening if it wasn't on the news.

The Turkish people and hospitality are one of the best in the world and Europe, especially in the small towns. Once you get there, you won't want to leave. We had the same reservations and everyone was enchanted with our stay and we still talk about the helpfulness of the Turkish people.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 06:48 PM
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OC, thank you for posting this very useful information.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 07:28 PM
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I predict you will have a WONDERFUL trip. I Istanbul!!
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Aug 27th, 2013, 07:50 PM
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Disadvantages of Turkey at any time.........

Fact 1 - You will have to endure touts.

Have travelled extensively and the touts in Turkey were some of the worst I've encountered. To say the touts in Turkey were annoying is an under statement. I'm glad I have visited Turkey, some sights are impressive. Having said that, I have no desire to return mainly because of the touts.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 08:07 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to post this. I will be going to Turkey in late Sept and have been concerned about the Syrian crisis and its impact on Istanbul and the Western Med.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 06:32 AM
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touts? what are you talking about?
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Aug 28th, 2013, 06:41 AM
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I'm sorry but I can't see Turkish touts being worse than Indian or Moroccan touts.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 07:23 AM
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nanabee, I believe that RJames stayed at an extremely touristy location near shops, markets and restaurants which were competing for customers by trying to speak to passersby and invite them inside.

This kind of behavior is reserved for a specific type of foreign tourist who looks the type and are mistakenly believed to be real shoppers. Unfortunately our poster here was just staring and not interested in buying or making use of the services but still walking in those areas looking like that type of tourist.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 09:08 AM
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hmm... could you pls elaborate on those areas to which you are referring, OC?
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Aug 28th, 2013, 09:13 AM
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This kind of behavior is reserved for a specific type of foreign tourist who looks the type and are mistakenly believed to be real shoppers. Unfortunately our poster here was just staring and not interested in buying or making use of the services but still walking in those areas looking like that type of tourist.

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Aug 28th, 2013, 11:08 AM
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sparkchaser, you're right, the touts in India and Morocco were just as annoying. There are a few other countries I've been that would belong on the world's most annoying touts list. I've been to more than 100 countries, and I'm happy to report only a handful of countries would make the list.

I fail to see how I was in the wrong area of town. Otherchelebi is right about me staying in a touristy location. In Istanbul I stayed in Sultanhamet. Sultanahamet is where the majority of sights are in Istanbul and the area is full of annoying touts. Any tourist to Istanbul would be walking in Sultanahamet sooner or later.
Within Istanbul, I did encounter touts in other areas too.

Once outside of Istanbul, depending on where I was I did encounter touts but they weren't as aggressive as those in Istanbul. In smaller towns/cities like Goreme, Ephesus, Punamakale, there really isn't a choice of which part of town to be as the towns are tiny.

Been to Turkey twice and I will say the touts were much more aggressive on my second visit, even when ignored.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 11:23 AM
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A lot of foreigners have erroneous ideas about the US, such as the NYC and Washington DC are "dangerous" cities, more than Istanbul. Tell that to that US female tourist killed there last year. Washington DC isn't particularly "dangerous" to any tourist. It has a somewhat higher crime rate in some categories than other US cities, but it isn't related to tourists. I think there was some history (many years ago) about DC having the highest murder rate in the US, but that was basically due to poorer, high-crime fringe neighborhood areas that were nowhere near the downtown or where any tourist would be. And it was quite a while ago. St Louis, Seattle, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Kansas City have higher violent crime rates than Washington DC, as do many other cities. They aren't in the top 10 cities in aggravated assault rates, either, nor murder. Now Detroit and New Orleans are worse than DC, actually. NYC isn't near the top in crime rates, either.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 11:26 AM
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Two of my colleagues just returned from resorts in the South, and had no problems whatsoever.

On the negative side, these things kick off really quickly, and with what is happening in Egypt and Syria, the whole area is a bit of a pressure cooker right now.

Make sure you have adequate travel insurance, and read the fine print, because it may not cover you in the event of internal unrest.

BTW, I found the touts in Istanbul very charming and hilarious! I sat with one for 30 mins chatting with one carpet seller, as he was once madly in love with an Irish girl in London, but the families would not let them marry. Probably a pile of B*ll**, but a very entertaining tale none the less
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