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Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Old Oct 8th, 2013, 09:45 PM
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And do you think public transport is safer than private transport in these areas?
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Old Oct 9th, 2013, 08:38 AM
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Mardin and Midyat seem to be OK.

Van may be heating up due to new PKK activity involving fund raising through highway robbery, kidnap, etc. although without armed fighting.

Public transport between towns and cities in the area may actually be less safe because of the other passengers who may have allegiances unbeknownst to you and who may attract intervention or become violent themselves.

Taking a bus to the area from Ankara or Istanbul could be a better bet, but then, flights do not cost much more.

In any case, the area will be difficult to visit due to the weather and the shortening days within two months or even less.
Anyone interested would do well to wait till April 2014, to see how things develop.
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Old Oct 28th, 2013, 07:00 AM
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This is to inform of some potentially great fireworks on the Bosphorus between the line drawn from Kabatas to Uskudar and the First Bosphorus bridge.

There will be no water traffic during 18:30 and 21:00 tomorrow, Tuesday, October 29, 2013, on that part of the Bosphorus.

Instead, there will be 8-12 tugboats firing fireworks for a grand display and the bridge lights will also accompany the spectacle.

Best places to watch would be Kabatas, Besiktas, Ortakoy, Uskudar, Kuzguncuk, Beylerbeyi, Ciragan Kempinsky, Four Seasons Bosphorus, Radisson Blu, Swiss Hotel Roof, Otherchelebi home, Marmara Taksim hotel roof, Ceylan Intercontinental Hotel roof, Opera Hotel, New Park Hotel Bosphorus, Sed Hotel roof.....


However, I should also give a warning.

There will be people marching in the streets on that day and possibly into the evening celebrating the Republic Day, with many of the marchers protesting the current Islamist government.

There is a strong likelikelihood that the government which believes that the republic was established in a coup against the rightful rulers of the Ottoman Empire in 1823 will decide to have a repeat performance of the police attacking the peaceful marchers.

The most likely place for any protest and police violence would be in the area from Besiktas to Dolmabahce and Taksim and Istiklal areas.

So it may be a good idea to avoid these areas the day and night of the 29th of October.
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Old Oct 28th, 2013, 07:34 AM
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Hi OC! As always such great advice -- wish we were there to see the celebration. Its also very cool to actually understand the places you are talking about in terms of exactly where they are.
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Old Oct 28th, 2013, 08:18 AM
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Hi yestravel.

This thread may be the correct location for you to complain about the location and the food at the gtg which was so very selective that requests to join from all parts of the world had to be regretfully turned down. It was good meeting you and your DH.
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Old Oct 30th, 2013, 12:20 PM
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Republic Day went without much trouble.

- People were not allowed to celebrate at Taksim Square or march on Istiklal by hundreds of police vehicles and men.
- The fireworks were fine although not as good as those of 2010 when Aduchamp was visiting us with his wife.
- The railway tunnel connecting Europe and Asia was inaugurated by the Turkish President, Prime Minister and their covered up wives with the Director of Religious Affairs, a civil servant of the secular Republic of Turkey, in what seemed to be a clerical gown giving a Koranic Sunni prayer which almost all, including the visiting Prime Minister of Japan (because a Japanese company has built the tunnel) solemnly confirmed with raised open palms.
- The pasta feast at my home with a view of the Bosphorus fireworks did not make the national papers or the TV.

Tomorrow, we expect to witness the first women MPs with hijab (head covering of the currently politically fashionable kind) in Turkey) attending the parliamentary session.

No, this is not a conversion nor the fact that they have suddenly seen the light or realized they were moslem of the fundamentalist kind. It is another sign of the ruling party showing how far they have come in changing a secular country into a "moderately Islamic" one, whatever that means.
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Old Oct 30th, 2013, 12:53 PM
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Love our commentary! Would certainly have loved to watch the fireworks from your view--can't beat the view and I love fireworks.
We have been accused on TA of jumping to judgement when we observed in our TR which you read, that the Faith neighborhood is populated by fundamentalists.
Check it out on the Trip Advisor IST forum. I post as dl.
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Old Oct 30th, 2013, 03:24 PM
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Yestravel, thanks,

I actually and strangely read your thread on TA and the responses by an islamist Turk residing in Australia with whom I had a slight run-in a year or so ago. A very typical "one and only one truth" person who believes in the superiority of being a subject to that of being a citizen in theory but not in practice. Hence the inconsistencies and contradictions in his posts.

I have cancelled my membership on TA totally, due to the dominance of people like him in Istanbul forums which also have commercially motivated individuals. Only two friendly frequent posters left there, GTTD and Patara. TA does not deserve my good intentions or my reviews.

However, I could not get my reviews or profile totally removed. They have just changed my name to a code and you can still see my information and reviews when you google otherchelebi and click any of the TA postss.

I do not think that they have a right to have this personal info on their site, but, just like their parent company, Expedia, they will cause you a great deal of head ache when you try to leave them.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2013, 02:27 AM
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News about Istanbul :

You can now take the tram/train from Yenikapi on the European side to Asia. Leaves every 10 minutes and the trip takes 4 minutes.

Currently free but will cost 2TL after next week. I do not know if it will accept Istanbul Card.

Current special : We have terrific unusually warm weather in most of Turkey.

Western and Southern temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 F.
I bet you can easily swim on the coast between Kas and Mersin. (not further East because of possible military and terrorist traffic in the waters near Syria. - )
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Old Nov 2nd, 2013, 06:00 AM
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Yenikapi stop is not far from the Sultanahmet tourist area correct? So where and how does it cross to?
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Old Nov 2nd, 2013, 07:40 AM
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We were in Turkey this time last year. We watched the Republic Day celebrations in Antakya. We also spent time in Hatay, Reyhanli and Atmeh, Syria. We were with excellent guides and never once felt unsafe. I'm not sure it would be the same now though.

An opportunity to work in Istanbul may come up for my husband next year. OC, could you comment on the environment for US or British nationals living in Istanbul, outside of the major tourist areas?
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Old Nov 2nd, 2013, 10:04 AM
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WhistlerNorth,

The crossing seems to be only between Yenikapi and Uskudar currently. Work is going on to extend the tracks and connect to inter-city railways as well as the metro lines.

It is not clear if this is a train, a metro or a tram.

You are correct that Yenikapi is quite close to Sultanahmet.
It is also the location wher a 8.5 thousand year old port was discovered in addition to various Greek, Roman and Byzantine remains, during the excavations for the Marmaray crossing.

The finds may not yet be available for viewing but we expect to see them soon.

BKP, You were lucky in your travels in Southern Turkey and Northern Syria last year. Just 9-10 months ago two car bombs killed 53 at Reyhanli. I doubt that the best guides could save anyone from such.

Istanbul is cosmopolitan city in all its districts with the exception of the few very low income settlements and the Fatih/Carsamba fundamentalist bastions. If you are practicing moslems, Fatih Carsamba will welcome you with open arms while all other residential areas will not notice or care.


Most expats live in Cihangir, Gumussuyu, Nisantasi, Macka, Besiktas, Bebek, Etiler, Ulus, Gayrettepe, Levent, Sisli, Tarabya, Gokturk. Note that these are all on the European side.

The selected location will depend on your budget and proximity to your husnand's office, because if residing too far, rush hour traffic can take up to two hours for only 10-15 miles of travel.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2013, 04:50 AM
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OC -- you're correct. We felt safe but that doesn't mean we were safe. Maybe a case of ignorance being bliss.

We loved the time we spent in Istanbul and are very excited about the chance to work and live there. I believe my husband's offices would be on the European side so thank you for your list of expat neighborhoods. We're currently expats in the UK but don't live in any sort of enclave. However there is no language barrier here and we think we might appreciate a bit more of the familiar if we were to live in Istanbul.
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Old Dec 10th, 2013, 07:45 AM
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Just a mid-December 2013 updte :

No new security or safety issues in Turkey.

Southeastern Turkey should still be avoided except for the touristic locations at and around Madrid, Urfa, Gaziantep and Nemrut.

Scenes of poverty have increased in conservative neigborhoods in istanbul and possibly some other major cities which drew illegal migration from Syria. The undeclared refugees, hoping for Islamic charity and possibly some people who can understand Arabic at Fatih, Carsamba and similar districts of Istanbul are not finding it. It is estimated that there are 100,000 or so illegal Syrians in and around Istnbul, many working as migrant workers with very low wages and some begging in the streets. The problem is getting worse with cold weather and snow.

Most of Northern, Central and Eastern parts of Turkey are under snow storm warnings, including up to four inches in Istanbul in the next few days.

I would not recommend visiting the Black Sea coast for the next few months due to potential flooding and landslides as well as washed out coastal highways and snow-blocked valley routes.

Cappadocia is usually beautiful under snow even when it is down to 15 F or -10 C , if you are dressed properly. and are prepared for the short days with some films, computer or board games and/or books to cozy up with in a cave hotel in the evenings.

Some antique cities on the Mediterranean coast would be good to visit. Prefer the excavated and well known ones which should be free of possible mud and muck.

Life in the Med towns like Fethiye will be very local and fun although some others like Dalyan or Datca will appear rather dismal and deserted.

The exchange rate is just about TL2 for $1 and close to TL2.8 for one Euro.

Fuel and energy costa are still the highest in the world but public transport, food and lodging are reasonably priced.
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Old Dec 10th, 2013, 12:15 PM
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sudden snow storm hit Istanbul this evening with possible snow accumulation reaching 12' by tomorrow noon but to be followed by rain.

European Champion;s League Football match between Turkish Galtasaray and Italian Juventus had to be postponed at 35th minute.

DD and SIL flying in from Chicago, to arrive Wednesdsay afternoon. I hope the snow will be cleared by then,

Check weather reports frequently if flying anywhere to Europe in the coming months since global warning is causing havoc with forecasts.
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Old Dec 10th, 2013, 12:48 PM
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hi OC! Good luck to your daughter and SiL. US has been having a bunch of early winter storms. Hopefully they avoided them too.
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 02:15 PM
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Wow. I saw pictures of Cairo with snow today as well. Does Istanbul have adequate snow removal equipment? 12" even sets us back a day or two up here near the North Pole. Luck OC!

Ian
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 02:32 PM
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Thanks Yestravel and Ian.

Our daughter and Sil arrived in a hiatus of the storm and the weather got warmer before the accumulation reached that much.

It is pretty much all melted now, 40 F and drizzling miserably.

Took visiting DD and her DH to gala black tie dinner of Istanbul port Propeller Club where Eser won a free Botox treatment in the raffle. The Cleveland trained doctor introduced himsels and seemed OK.

And met the American Consul General but had no occasion to chat except changing cards.

There is now a rift between the two major Islamist factions who control Turkey. Unfortunately this has done nothing to improve civil liberties.

There are no repercussions regarding tourism except the closing of a large number of residences, apart hotels and boutique hotels in Karakoy and Beyoglu areas for supposedly not meeting safety standards.
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 03:41 PM
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Thanks for your ongoing comments and information on the situation in your country OC.
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Old Dec 13th, 2013, 05:42 PM
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Hope all is well and constantly see photos of your family on another site. They are all so beautiful, it looks like someone pasted in your face.
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