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Let me assuage your apprehensions, fears & preconceptions about safety in Turkey

Let me assuage your apprehensions, fears & preconceptions about safety in Turkey

Jun 5th, 2007, 07:27 AM
  #1  
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Let me assuage your apprehensions, fears & preconceptions about safety in Turkey

We just returned from a last-minute 2 week trip. I'll admit I had to convince my husband to go because he was leery about going to Turkey due to concerns about safety issues. After we'd been there a few days, I asked him what in the world he'd been so concerned about. He didn't know and admitted it had been a needless worry.

We both felt perfectly safe all the time, and, yes, we were in the country at the time of the bombing in Ankara. There are a lot of security people and police all over with their submachine guns, and the country seems to be very concerned with safety issues. Plus, it is our understanding that there are numerous plain-clothesmen throughout the country. When we visited Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul we had to go through airport-type security devices just as one has to do in Paris at certain tourist attractions. The owner of one of the places we stayed in is from Scotland and has lived in Turkey for 18 years. From her perspective Turkey is a safer place to live than the UK because there is less personal crime such as muggings and break-ins.

We were on our own the entire time and visited both the typical tourist places and a number of off-the-beaten-path places in the countryside. We flew to Cappadocia and picked up a rental car there that we had for 9 days. After our visit to Cappadocia we drove south through the mountains and down to the coast where we spent 4 days before dropping off our rental car and flying back to Istanbul for 5 days. In Istanbul we stayed at a very small apartment rental complex that is in a slowly gentrifying neignborhood adjacent to the Sultanahmet area. This was definitely not tourist central. We found the trip delightful and plan to return in the future for an opportunity to see all the marvelous things we didn't have time for. Don't let your fears stop you from going to a fascinating country.
julies is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 08:05 AM
  #2  
BKD
 
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Julies,

Thanks for the reassurance. We're leaving for Turkey this Friday having decided to forge ahead with our plans despite some of the recent events. Your confirmation is timely for us and most appreciated.
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Jun 5th, 2007, 08:11 AM
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I was interested to read this. I visited Turkey many years ago and found people to be unusually welcoming. I certainly felt no concerns for my safety at that time.
Pegontheroad is online now  
Jun 5th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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Thank you for your post. We leave next week.
milliebz is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 09:47 AM
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Thanks Julies,

You have no idea how perfect your timing is. My DH is feeling EXACTLY the same way yours was, and I really want to visit Turkey. I explained we would not be anywhere near Syria or Iraq, we will be on a well worn tourist trail (although some group have made threats against tourists) and no where in this world is absolutely safe. He admits his feeling are slightly illogical, but that doesn't matter - since he has them they are real. I am glad to have some recent first hand comments to share with him to try to ease his mind.

We will also have a car, and at first we thought we would drive from the Cappadocia region to Antalya, but now I think we will fly Kayseri to Izmir and drive the coast to Antalya. He did not like the idea of that Cappadocia to Antalya drive.



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Jun 5th, 2007, 10:20 AM
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Pegontheroad--

I think the concern many people have now is the possible volatility of the area as a whole, where one incident may trigger who-knows-what and the fact that a Kurdish terrorist group has recently carried out bombings as part of their separatist protests.

Happycheeshead--

I assume you are a neighbor from Wisconsin; we live in Minneapolis. I guess I should throw in that the coast was the least favorite part of our trip, and if we had to do it over we might eliminate that part. Much of it is just disgustingly overdeveloped and looks like a typical coastline strip that could be anywhere in the world, catering to tourists who want fun in the sun (this doesn't describe us or our interests). We did hike and visit some (3 or 4) of the ruins. They were very interesting, but we are not particularly ruins buffs even though I probably have more of an interest in archaeology than the typical person. All in all, we found Cappadocia to be much more to our liking because it seemed to present more aspects of "real" Turkey.

We flew Istanbul to Kayseri where we picked up our car (got a great deal through www.economycarrentals.com on a pickup and drop in different locations). The drive over the mountains wasn't that bad at all; we left the Ilhara Valley area in the early afternoon and made it to the coast just by dark. We stopped for the night in Side which was godawful as far as we were concerned. Then we spent 2 nights in Cirali--a much nicer spot. After that we spent a night at a great B & B in a small village about 12 miles north of, and a world away from, Kalkan. Being not particularly enamoured with the coast, we chose to drive back up into the mountains for the day to visit market day in a town well off the tourist path. Then, our final night, before flying back to Istanbul, we spent just east of the Dalaman airport in Gocek. Just my thoughts on the coastal area. It may be very much to your liking, but it didn't particularly call to us.
julies is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 10:28 AM
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Hi julies,
Thanks for the update. I'm going this August. Media can tend to paint a picture that does not always reflect reality.

Might we expect a trip report? I'd be interested in what you did and where you went. I'm in the planning stages now.

Mike

Michel_Paris is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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Our experience in Turkey a few weeks ago was like Julie's - we never had any reason to feel unsafe at all.

Julie, I do hope you share all your details in a trip report!

Meredith
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Jun 5th, 2007, 12:08 PM
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I just wanted to say thank you, too. I'm second-guessing myself now, especially after reading the last few posts, since we are skipping Cappadocia, and only visiting Istanbul and the Bodrum area. It made more sense for our itinerary since we need to be in Rhodes at the end of the month. If anyone has had GOOD experiences in Bodrum, I'd love to know about them. We love visiting ruins and beaches, so I'm hoping that I made the right choice!
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Jun 5th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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Nice work Julies ! I'm glad that you and your husband had a great time and enjoyed the beauty and hospitality of the country and the Turkish people.

Of course one has to be cautious in a country where overtly violent threats are made (and there are several other oountries, not just Turkey, where that happens) and pay some heed to the warnings, BUT a good attitude and common sense should not prevent one from enjoying the beauty and wonders a country can offer.

The 11 days I had in Turkey last October counts among the best vacations I have had (next to Peru and the Maldives) and my car rental and I also strayed off the tourist path into some wonderful regions where I met the most welcoming, kind and generous people. The landscapes were unbelievable and the food amazing. How about those breakfasts ?

I'm glad you had a great time. Turkey is wonderful.
Mathieu is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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Thanks for all the positive responses. Give me a week or so and I will try to find time to put together a trip report.
julies is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 06:48 PM
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Hiya Julies,

Yes, indeedy, I am a cheesehead neighbor from WI! My DH is in Minneapolis right now - he works there a lot, and we live near Madison.

I have to ask - was the B&B 12 miles from Kalkan "Owlsland" in Bezirgan Village, and the market in Elmali?

I had an entire trip to Turkey planned for Sept 2005, FF tix on NWA in the bag, reservations made, and then my hubby was sent to teach a group of fellow engineers in Germany in July. I got $1000 from his company towards my airline ticket and free accomodation with DH, so I used my available vacation to go to Germany with him and cancelled our Turkey trip. I had reservations at Owlsland near Kalkan for that trip, and I had wonderful correspondence with Pauline regarding our stay there. She was just terrific and I was really hoping that Owlsland was still around because I cannot wait to give it a try.

I think DH was relieved when we cancelled the first trip - although, obviously, he had agreed to go. Now that there have been rumblings of military action, and threats against tourists from some groups, his uneasiness has returned. I never stopped thinking that I really wanted to see Turkey tho!

We went to France for two weeks in April 2006, then Croatia/Italy two weeks in Sept. In 2007 we are staying domestic (he got to pick the trips this year, Hawaii and Maine) so in May 2008 - for our 25th - I really want to see Turkey!!

I had planned on pretty much recreating my original 2007 trip, but your comments about the coast are making me think I might want to re- look at it. I really wanted to see the Lycian coast and tombs, and was hoping to find less crowded areas that we could explore. We love to get to the water when we travel, but I not interested in days at the beach, or crazy crowds.

I will be excited to read your trip report when you have a chance to post it!

HappyCheesehead is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 07:20 PM
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Weadles - how long are you in Bodrum? It's fine for a day or so, but any longer than that I would recommend day-trips to Kusadasi or Pammukule.

Bodrum has a really neat crusader's castle, and I just like hanging out along the marina/harbor. I haven't been there in the summer (only in Spring), so I'm not sure how the crowds are. Also, a lot of the shops/restaurants were closed when we were there (both times!) because it was just before the start of the toursist season. But there are some nice restaurants on the street that runs along the harbor. There is quite a nice wine bar/cafe...I think it's called La Jolla Bistro.

What is your itinerary?
Grcxx3 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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Happy Cheesehead--

You nailed it right on the head. We stayed in Owlsland and went to the market in Emali. We really liked Owlsland and its concept (and we'd highly recommend the place) but both thought in comparison to other places it was quite pricey for what we got. We did the half board option and paid E106 for the night for the 2 of us.

If it will help others with planning, while I can still somewhat remember, here's what we paid other places. Esbelli Evi in Urgup $110 per night for cash. Around $60-70 per night for a room in downtown Side with a balcony overlooking the sea. Cirali--around $50-$60 a night in a small pension. Nice new one bedroom apartment near Sultanahmet in Istanbul--E60 per night. As I said, I'll try to put it all together in a trip report one of these days.
julies is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 08:00 PM
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Glad to hear it was Owlsland and I will REALLY be tapping my toes waiting for your report! No pressure tho...

In Kalkan, I also did have my eye on Villa Mahal. Kind of pricey but it might be where we are at for our 25th anniversary, so a splurge may be in order. Owlsland would offer something different to remember tho!

Esbelli Evi was the place we had our Cappadocia ressies in 2005 , it gets good reviews although there are a few very nice cave hotels as I recall.

Very cool that you had an apartment in Istanbul. I never thought of that for Turkey, although I do not know why not. We used apartments in Croatia and loved it. Yours seems pretty reasonably priced. Details??

I had originally thought to stay at Empress Zoe in Istanbul, but when I went back to look at their site this time around I think their prices have really shot up in two years.

Oh my gosh, my trip is WAAAYYY to far out to get fired up already!
HappyCheesehead is offline  
Jun 8th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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I just flew home last night after a 3 week trip to Turkey and I totally agree that safety issues were a needless worry. I never felt unsafe in the least.

Julies--we stayed at Esbelli Evi also--really liked it. Did you do a hot air balloon ride? What a fantastic experience--well worth the money and getting up at 4 AM ;-)!!
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Jun 8th, 2007, 04:31 PM
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Hi NWWanderer--

When were you at Esbelli Evi? I wonder if our stays overlapped? We were there I think May 20-25. Yes, we also did the balloon trip, and it was the highlight of our trip for my husband.
julies is offline  
Jun 9th, 2007, 05:04 AM
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Hi, I was just there on Monday and Tuesday of this week (June 4 and 5).
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