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Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Advantages and Disadvantages of Visiting Turkey At This Time

Old Jan 15th, 2014, 01:19 PM
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Thanks for the info, is there a curfew in effect every evening? Do you think it may be a better idea to change our plans and not visit Istanbul on this trip? Thanks.
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Old Jan 15th, 2014, 02:23 PM
  #102  
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The "curfew" applies to vehicular traffic on certain pedestrianized roads near the historic sights and it is a daytime curfew, as you could have gleamed from the fact that i wrote about walking around at night.

I have no idea what got you scared. This year over ten million foreign tourists visited Istanbul. It is one of the top ten tourism destinations in Europe.
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Old Jan 16th, 2014, 07:53 PM
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Sorry, my misunderstandingabout the curfew. I chose to incorporate Istanbul into our vacation plans because I had heard what a wonderful destination it is, I am certainly not disputing that. Nor am I scared, just a little uncomfortable. Don't want to spend precious vacation days restricted due to demonstrations etc. especially since there has been increased political unrest.

Following yestravel's suggestion, I have to ask - could you recommend a more lively neighborhood but a bit easier/quicker to get to Sultanahmet than Nisantasi? That would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Jan 16th, 2014, 11:30 PM
  #104  
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Cihangir is closer distancewise if you are willing to walk up or downhill to the tram, and without a ferry option.

Nisantasi is about 3.2 miles to the old city and Cihangir is about 2.3 miles.

These are short distances in a city of 15 million or more.
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Old Jan 19th, 2014, 11:43 PM
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Nasty or what?
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe...840694702.html
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Old Jan 24th, 2014, 09:49 PM
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otherchelebi, thank you very much for the updates on the current situation in Turkey. I've been lurking and reading this particular thread for the last few months while I considered a trip to Turkey. If it was just me, I really wouldn't be concerned in any way about political situations etc but this time I'm traveling with two young children and my husband. Anyway, I've just booked our flights and we'll be in Turkey for 2 and 1/2 weeks! Very excited that I can start planning properly. So thank you again.
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Old Jan 25th, 2014, 08:07 AM
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boobaby, You're welcome.

Political and economic issues becoming more urgent as the PM starts seeing enemies under every bush.

The TL depreciated further this week despite the central bank selling Three Billion USD.

There are local municipality elections coming up on March 30, 2014. There is a great deal of misinformation flooding the media controled by the ruling party (about 70% of the newspapers and 80% of TVs). Despite information against them being leaked out to the rest of the media and to international press by the FG Movement regarding corruption, graft, Al-Qaeda support and other serious allegations, they still seem to have majority backing according to some opinion polls.

The peace conditions with the Kurdish rebels and the commercial relations with Kurdish North Iraqis are going strong. So, Southeastern Turkey seems to be a safe destination except for the current weather. A friend who manages a charity and micro business opportunity for women at the three major cities of the most backward region of the Southeast is planning a group trip to he area for end of May.

The situation in Syria and the bordering areas of Turkey is still risky although there have been no incidents during the last few months that we have heard about.

Turkish intelligence organization trucks carrying ?????? were stopped at traffic control points not far from the Syrian border, but neither the police nor the public prosecutor eventually called to the scene were allowed to search the contents by the governor, pretty well admitting to some funny goings on. Later government said they were carrying food and blankets but could not explain what the intelligence agency had to do with humanitarian aid and why nobody was allowed to see the aid!!!!!! I guess they have not followed Spy fiction and actual events of the last 60 years when CIA and MI6 were involved. The usual story in those cases was, "What? some people or dastardly renegade agents doing things on their own!!!!" "We have no knowledge of any arms shipments to Iran or Nicargua!"

It is difficult for people with a provincial background and perspective to perceive, understand or analyse those who have been raised differently. hence the Turkish international relations suffers from this lack of understanding of the values, perspectives, cultures and national and personal interests of the other players on the scene, believing them to be ruled and motivated by similar narrow behaviour patterns and attitudes and hence misjudging words, body language, irony, sarcasm, etc.

. Lodging is usually priced in Euros or USD except in smaller hotels and less popular locations, so the TL devaluation may not be a big advantage. However, food prices are way down now and shopping for local items, except for those made of gold and silver or imported materials, is very advantageous currently.

Some excellent film, theatre and music festivals and other concerts coming up soon. Follow on Biletix.com for ticketing and schedules.

We hope to make it to Bursa February 30th for large symphony (200 instruments) and choir (100) to attend one of the few organizations featuring the great but aged theatre actor Genco Erkal recite from the poetry of Nazim hikmet against the backdrop of the Nazim Hikmet Oratorio.
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Old Jan 25th, 2014, 06:24 PM
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Hi there, OC! Does Turkey have 30 days in February?
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Old Jan 26th, 2014, 12:37 AM
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Hi Yestravel,

Sorry, meant 30th of January.

(Although I have started a movement to add a few days to February for those in warmer climates) The idea is that we already have different hours for different days like only 6 hours on Saturdays and 3 on Sundays while about 42 on mondays. -

The weather has taken a turn towards wet and cooler. DW has some appointments and dinner guests this week so she's having second thoughts on driving 60 miles to an 8PM concert and getting back at midnight partially on country roads. she wants to check if there's a DVD of a previous concert.

I think it could be an adventure if not as big as "Night Train to Lisbon" and should be tackled. tickets go on sale tomorrow.
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Old Jan 26th, 2014, 12:52 AM
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For some interesting but rather radical analysis of the sotuation in Turkey, you may wish to check the blog of :

Sibel Deniz Edmonds, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) translator and founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC).

Spoiler alert : What she says may appear to be shocking or insulting to some readers.

Disclaimer : My mentioning her does neither mean I agree with everything she says nor that I think it is all imaginary or negative propaganda.
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Old Jan 26th, 2014, 02:12 AM
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I like Sibel, the US development of the CIA only makes sense if you understand the key founding myths of America. These are well described in "Our America: Hispanic history of the US" but in particular that the Plymouth Breth etc were liberty loving (quite the opposite) and Tea-Party in Boston was lead by tax/representation heroes rather than criminal/monopolists, still myths are myths
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 12:55 AM
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The Turkish Lira has depreciated more,even against the Indian rupee!!(which itself has depreciated by 20-25% against the dollar,looks like its a bargain time.
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 01:17 PM
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The whole global financial scene is in a shambles right now, with South africa following Turkey in increasing interest rates, warm funds leaving Brasil, Argentina, Indonesia also and the Fed reducing its buy back.

While that's going on, wet and cold weather finally hit Eastern Europe, some parts of Turkey got it with a vengeance with up to four meters of snow accumulation.

Istanbul is still above freezing with drizzling rain still allowing seaside outdoor seating wearing warm clothes with many cafes providing outdoor gas heaters.

Yesterday we had grilled cheese inside simit and tea at Bebek Kahve sitting at the edge of the sea, watching the cormorants and the gulls enjoying themselves and an occasional horse mackerel between the moored yachts, after about a mile walk on the sea front from Rumeli Fortress. The only problem was that i kept on thinking that I would have to walk that mile back since DW would not let me take a taxi to the car. I guess it was not that bad since I am alive and well enough to write this.
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Old Jan 29th, 2014, 07:14 PM
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Well, OC, I guess you could take comfort in the fact that the mile walk probably worked off that grilled cheese. Question, please. We are touring with Gate1 in about 7 weeks (March 20) and as best as I can tell, the weather will still be mostly wintery - highs in the 50's, low's in the 40's. Does that seem right? We are visiting (in order) Istanbul, Canakkale, Kusadasi, Pamukkale, Konya, Cappadocia, Ankara, ending back up in Istanbul. Any hints on "must experience" food, purchases, etc.? I think our itinerary will be pretty tight and we are taking just about every optional tour we can, but we would welcome any input regarding ways to enhance our experience. Do we need to exchange money once we arrive or do many places accept dollars? Thanks so very much for all your helpful info thus far. It is very much appreciated.
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 12:14 AM
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Hi czarria,

Just a few remarks and recommendations:

- Do not take Grand bazaar, spice bazaar and Istiklal or Galata and any evening or dinner tours in istanbul. You will definitely do these better on your own instead of being part of a commercially targeted crowd.

- March 20 should be tulip time in Istanbul. One recommendation would be to visit Emirgan park for the tulips and then eat at Muze de Changa fusion restaurant for the culinary experience of a life time. If you eat there you also get free entrance to Sabanci Museum.

- Istanbul weather can be great but also treacherous in March. If you're lucky you will have daytime temperatures up to 70 or so. Any rain you get should be Spring showers followed by sun.

- Try to get away for lunch at Selcuk between Ephesus and Saint John's Basilica to eat at the restaurant of Hotel Bella just across from the basilica and taste the wild Aegean greens in various salads. "Turp Otu" "Sevketi Bostan" "Cibes" are the major local wild greens.

- Use local currency even if some places may accept USD.

- Draw local currency at ATMs, preferring the ones just outside banks. There will be lots of them.

- You can use credit cards for supermarket, clothing, carpets, etc. and USD for gold, silver and jewelery.

- google for price of gold and silver before doing any jewelry shopping (I even carry a small electronic scale with me when I do it) (check the per gram price for 18 and 14 carat gold if you can, and then allow anywhere from 40 to 100% for workmanship and other mark-ups but no more than that.

- I hope you get to eat at Asitane restaurant during your visit to Chora (Kariye). It has the best imperial Ottoman cuisine.

- If you like spicy hot and do not mind fast food, try "Kokorec" but only at "Sampiyon" just off istiklal Street at entrance of the Fish market at Galatasaray.

- Recommended fast food places very close to the Grand Bazaar, just below the Nuru Osmaniye mosque, are : "Durumcu Mehmet" (get theis shish kebap and spicy Adana mixed) and gyros at the tiny hole in the wall "Sahin" (pronounce Shaheen) where you order a double in bread with preferably onions.

- The small "Filibe Koftecisi" just above Rustem pasha Mosque, not far from the Spice bazaar is the place to eat grilled meat balls and great norther white bean salad ( kofte and piyaz)

- If you have an extra day or two in Istanbul, you can repeat our performance above, taking a tram to Kabatas, bus 25E from there to the Rumeli Fortress, walking back to bebek after visiting the fortress and having simit(out version of pretzel-bagel look-alike) with cheese and tea at Bebek Kahve, just next to bebek mosque and behind the MacDonalds. A more luxurious venu would be Divan Bebek with the Patissery/Cafe upstairs and Brasserie/Restaurant downstairs at sea level, very close to Bebek Kahve.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 08:54 AM
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Hello,

I have been reading this thread and was wondering if May/June 2014 is a good time to visit Turkey. I will have my family with 2 kids with me. Any risks as far as the political scenario is concerned ? Due to the currency depreciation, is Turkey cheap to visit now ?

Thanks.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 01:07 PM
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Golfdude, May/June is an excellent time to visit Turkey in terms of the weather and the long daylight hours, as well as the cherry, plum and mulberry season.

In terms of politics, things are confusing in Turkey since the United States seems definitely to have abandoned Mr. Erdogan, the PM possibly for trying to blackmail the US and acting against joint security interests. we have local elections for all cities and districts on March 30 and there may be some minor scuffles during and immediately after that.

We have possibly 700,000 Syrian refugees in turkey, some of them illegally living in Istanbul and possibly other cities, some of whom with no jobs and in need. This may cause some additional problems because the government has not yet started looking for solutions to any possible problems. It is also possible that some undesirable Syrian elements may have entered Turkey posing as refugees.

Turkey is conducting a peace process with the large Kurdish minority which has an armed fighting force in Southeastern Turkey. This process seems to have stalled and if it does not pick up momentum, that may present some problems. But WE had this for the last 30 years and there was no effect on tourism.

If there is any reason to consider delaying , postponing or canceling your trip for security reasons I will try to post here as soon as I am aware of it.

The devaluation of the Turkish Lira has affected food, clothing and some transport costs but not lodging that much because lodging is usually indexed to USD or Euro or quoted in those currencies.
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Old Feb 15th, 2014, 02:10 PM
  #118  
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There is nothing new in Turkey which may require undue attention of a trip planner.

The government is doing its best to escape from serious accusations of graft, bribery, tender fixing, atc. which may have involved sons of various party bigwigs and the PM.

Different polling companies come up with different opinion poll results and now the public does not believe anyone.

The belief in the honesty of the armed forces, the judiciary, the parliament, the police and the media are all at all time lows, none above 40 percentile.

The government is crazily moving police (over 6,000 at last count) and public prosecotors (over 300 at last count) between post and sometimes demoting them, but although they are generically accused of plotting to work against the dully elected government, the government for some reason cannot or will not prosecute them.

The situation in the Southeast has deteriorated further.
Gaziantep, which I had listed as a safe city should now be handled with care because of the possibly 200,000 Syrians who have moved there, many with no funds, jobs or income.
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Old Feb 19th, 2014, 05:31 PM
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Hi, OC. Thanks so much for all your comments above in response to my inquiries. We are just four short weeks away from our visit to your amazing country and getting more excited and eager every day.

I did have a question about the ATM's you mention. On another blog, I read that ATM's in Turkey are high risk for fraud/identity theft, so much that many credit card companies here in the US block their cardholders from using them at ATM's in Turkey. Do you feel that is a fair statement or something not as big an issue as it has been presented? Are AtM's outside the banks safer in your opinion? I do think our card company will allow us to use the card anywhere if we communicate with them prior to our trip and are explicit in our wishes.

You also mention using USD for jewelry, rather than credit cards. I am curious about that, as most of the nicer jewelry stores we have shopped at in the Caribbean and South/Central America accept credit cards and have proven reliable. Is it different in Turkey?

Also, we are trying to learn a little Turkish before our visit. Do you think it will be received ok in places like the bazaars and hotels, or will we be insulting anyone by trying (I'm sure we may do some mild butchering of the pronunciations)?

Thank you for all your suggestions of places to visit for sampling of the cuisine. Since I love to cook and enjoy trying new things, I sincerely appreciate your kind recommendations and we will hopefully get to visit those places.

Thank you again for your ongoing updates and any further comments you might have are always appreciated. Or should I say, "Teşekkürler?"
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Old Feb 20th, 2014, 02:40 AM
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I always use my debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs in Turkey, trouble-free for over 20 years.

Last year, for the first time, the PTT machine at Pamukkale spat it back at me, so I used my credit card instead.
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