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kodi Mar 14th, 2011 08:43 AM

Is Turkey Safe?
I'm thinking of going to Turkey. I've heard it's really a great place to see and I think I'd really enjoy it.
I usually travel on my own, but I'm thinking for this trip, I would like to take a tour. ( I know, I know, many people don't like the idea of package tours) , but as a single retired woman, I just think it might be best.
I'm not worried about safety in the streets... on that level, I travel well, and I consider myself street smart.

It's the location of Turkey geographically that worries me. And the political atmosphere there. I really do have to read about it, but I trust Fodorites opinions.
Is it ok to be going to Turkey now?

Thanks for any help.

otherchelebi Mar 14th, 2011 01:21 PM

Geographically, Turkey is not an easy country. We have some very high and young mountains, on both North and south coasts, with more arid and even desert like areas in the central regions. There are some very densely forested areas where it will be easy to get lost also. White water rafting and slope parachuting are other dangerous sports while ballooning over Cappadocia is usually quite safe. We have never had shark attacks on our beaches and no spanish men of war have been sighted. Somalia is quite far to be worried about pirates. Aegean earthquakes are very unlikely to cause tsunamis over six feet high.

Politically, our neighbors Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, greece, and Bulgaria have some economic problems. Iran And Syria have other problems regarding their relations with The US and Israel. Iraq has problems with its own population. However, like US and Mexico, we export a great deal of stuff to these countries and adventurous and fearless Turkish contractors and businessmen travel like crazy in the region winning contracts and taking risks and earning a great deal. (one of them told me recently that he usually earned the most during these times of crises.)

Turkey has a "moderate islamic" government fully supported by the united states despite the government's atrocious track record on freedom of thought and speech and its recent successful attempts to take over the military and the judiciary, after the complete control of the police force.

Currently there are only 61 journalist held in prisons awaiting trial (some for upto three years) from undeclared or drummed up charges, about 250 current and former high level military commanders (including most of the top rank of the navy)

The government is badly hurting all the rivers and forests of the Black sea reagion by allowing over 2000 small and large hydroelectric powerplants to be built on them. Two dams have covered two major archeological sites fully and a third one will soon swallow Hasankeyf a major biblical site with a history reaching as far back as Noah's Ark.

A major 150 ton reinforced concrete statue called "friendship", commissioned by the former mayor of the city and almost completed in Kars in Eastern Turkey, visible from Armenia, was termed "a travesty" by our art connoisseur primeminister and ordered to be demolished.

Yet, we are hopeful, that:

- The same guys will not win the national elections on June 12

- The European Parliament and the EC will step down more forcefully rather than pussyfooting as they have done the last four years.

- The United States will withdraw its support because of all the human rights abuses that the US ambassador, Mr. Ricciardone has full acknowledged.

Dear Kodi, coming back to your question, in spite of all of the political analysis above, there is no additional current risk in Turkey due to what has been happening in the region.
The risk will probably start after the election if the same party has a landslide win and mount up within a few years.
I will try to keep an eye for signs and let future travelers know beforehand of any increased uncertainty.

bilboburgler Mar 14th, 2011 02:27 PM

IMO the only area I would worry about is the far east of Turkey (loads of history and political stuff) other than that I'd say you will not suffer being pestered apart from carpet salesmen and in the same way that you stay on the right side of the track where you live do the same here.

kodi Mar 14th, 2011 05:59 PM

Otherchelibi thank you so much for taking the time to explain so many things to me. I appreciate it.
I will watch closely after the Election in June.

Biloburgler, thank you very much too. I appreciate your opinions.

A friend has just loaned me the Fodor's Turkey book, and I will read more about the country.

MaggieOB Mar 14th, 2011 06:35 PM

Hi Kodi,
I recognize your name from the South American board and know that we both used the wonderful Isabel to help plan our respective trips (isn't she a gem?!!) My husband and I went to Turkey five years ago and would go back in a heartbeat---it is so many things wrapped into one. Yes, there are political issues but you seem to be a savvy traveler and could deal with these. The Turkish people are truly warm, welcoming and proud of their country. As a woman traveling alone you would have the usual concerns but my guess is if SA wasn't a problem you'll be fine in Turkey. It is beautiful, historic and so much more. I think I am sort of blathering here--but do some research and ask more questions and go. You will not regret it.

kodi Mar 14th, 2011 07:50 PM

HI Maggie (yes Isabel is such a GEM !)
I have to say right now I'm torn.
I have not heard of anyone going and not thinking it's wonderful. People like yourself rave about it.
It's good to hear that you enjoyed it and it's encouraging to hear.
I will start on the Fodor's book!

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