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Turkey safe to travel

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Jun 9th, 2016, 09:24 AM
  #1
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Turkey safe to travel

We are flying to Istanbul early July in 3 weeks and are now getting worried is this is a wise decision based on this week's Monday bombings in Istanbul especially in the Sultanhmet district where there were crowds.

We contacted expedia through we booked our flights but they are refusing to refund our tickets also because the tickets were non refundable.

We contacted the airlines directly and they are sticking to the same policy. What recommendations do y'all have for us?
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Jun 9th, 2016, 09:34 AM
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Turkey has been quite unstable for a long time so it was always risky for you to book a vacation there when you did, you should have known that.

When you say your tickets are nonrefundable, fine, but can't you change it to some other flight for about a $200 change fee? ALl my tickets you can do that. You bought a fare that was nonrefundable so it isn't surprising they say you have to adhere to the policy you chose to buy under. Otherwise it wouldn't mean anything.

I don't see what you can do other than applying the funds to another ticket with a change fee. If you have some kind of ticket where you can't even do that (never seen one but maybe some cheapo airline is like that), I think you are out of luck.

If you don't want to tour Turkey for 3 weeks, you could actually just book a budget European flight to somewhere else and then you'd only be in transit at the airport. If you can't do a change of itinerary, I'd probably do that. There are many places you can go, I'd check Croatia. Checking skyscanner, you can get a RT ticket in July to/from IST and Paris on Air France for only 226 euro, for example. Cheaper tickets to Austria or Italy.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 09:42 AM
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No one can tell you how safe it will be for you. I have a friend who says that the planet is so big and he, as one single person, is so small, that the chances of a thing happening to him specifically is vanishingly tiny. I call it the Big Earth, Small Me theory.

My answer is appallingly philosophical because there is no practical answer regarding safety.

Christina's advice regarding plane tickets is excellent. You have options, even if a full refund isn't one of them.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 09:48 AM
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Istanbul is a big city. If an attack happens on the day you are there, odds are that you wouldn't be affected. There could be a bigger chance of being killed by a drunken driver on the way to work.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 09:50 AM
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See? Big Earth, Small Me.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 09:57 AM
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The whole Eastern Mediterranean area (except Cyprus and Greece) got more and more unsafe in the last years.
Nevertheless, road accidents cause much more victims than terrorism, even in Turkey.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 09:57 AM
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That is excellent advice - using the ticket you have, then getting cheap tickets to some other place.

However, you will be landing in Turkey anyway, so consider going to Cappadocia for three or four days. IMHO, it would still be quite safe, and is one of the most beautiful and interesting places you could see. You could also fly down to Ephesus for a day (I have not heard of problems there), or take a gulet boat tour.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 10:21 AM
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Istanbul is one of our favorite cities, so I would probably go and not worry about it.

However, here is another idea. Pick up a cruise from Istanbul, one that visits the Greek Islands and Athens. It won't be cheap, but cabin and meals are covered and there is one on Windstar that goes to many beautiful islands. Lots of people fly to Istanbul, Athens or Rome to catch those cruises. Look at vacationstogo.com and Cruisecritic.com for ideas of what is available. The Windstar itinerary looks fabulous. If I were really worried, I would do that. We have taken similar cruises from Istanbul to Istanbul and from Venice to Rome. Both went to Athens and many islands. They were lovely.

You could also fly almost anywhere from Istanbul.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 10:47 AM
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Sassafrass uses the word "worry", and that really is the point, I think: if you would be too worried to enjoy yourself, change your plans; if you can put worry aside, then proceed with your plans. There's no right or wrong.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 11:23 AM
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I'm going to Istanbul end of the month.
If you don't read me after that, I should have stayed home.
Whathello is offline  
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Jun 9th, 2016, 11:46 AM
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Be sure to let us know either way, will you, Whathello?
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Jun 9th, 2016, 12:49 PM
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I am spending a couple of nights in Istanbul on my way east in September, but in view of the political and security situation I am staying in an airport hotel, and will just visit the Dolmabahce Palace and cruise the Bosphorus. And maybe visit a hammam (but I have been to Istanbul several times already).

Provided you don't head too far southeast (i.e. the Kurdish area and near the Syrian border) you should be fine outside Istanbul and Ankara, but if you are going to worry I would fly on to Athens and visit Greece (look on skyscanner.net for budget airlines).

You might read the posts near the end of this thread:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-or-chaos.cfm
thursdaysd is online now  
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Jun 9th, 2016, 03:47 PM
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Just to make it clear, Istanbul is one of the most interesting cities to visit in Europe and Christina's advice is appalling condescending.

Neckervd's advice, on the other hand, is spot on.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 04:04 PM
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There is nothing appalling or condescending about Christina's advice. She merely offered another option for someone who has safety concerns about traveling in Turkey right now.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 04:10 PM
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I find her comments such as "you should have known that" to be incredibly patronizing. Her ideas, on the other hand, have some merit.
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Jun 9th, 2016, 04:28 PM
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Her comment that Turkey has been unstable for a long time is quite true, and anyone planning a trip there should know that. So I don't see where Christina is being out of line. You, on the other hand . . .
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Jun 11th, 2016, 08:06 AM
  #18
 
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I cannot quantify or compare the safety risks of visiting Turkey as a risk manager.

- yes, there is major group who wishes to damage Turkey's image, hurt its security forces and avenge Kurdish civillian deaths and political decisions of no negotiation.

- there is another group who seems to have been also well-established in Turkey and targeting European and American property and people as well as Turkish socialists, liberals, atheists, LBGTs.

- Finally, you have agaencies and organizations of some foreign powers who may have people acting as representing the above mentioned groups and using similar tactics to destabilize the region and enhance their power in the Middle East. These could be World powers as well as the more likely countries of the Middle East like Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc.

- On the other hand, the Turkish security forces have been quite successful against most of the murderous attempts of the terrorist groups, except when the actions were carried out against the opposition and critics of the Turkish government.

- The man in the street or on Fodors has no information on when and how any terrorist group will find an opportunity to attack and where.

- However, so far, there has been only one attack targeting tourists (German-Israeli) in Istanbul and nothing else at any touristic locations such as Izmir, Kusadasi, Cesme, Bodrum, Marmaris, Side, Silifke, Dalyan, Kalkan, Kas, ayvalik, Assos, troy, Canakkale, Trabzon, Amasya, amasra, Cappadocia, Mus, ermenek, Anamur, Fethiye, silifke, kemer, Beldibi, Belek, Tekirova, Myra, Xanthos, Pinara, Patara, etc.

Under the circumstances, I would still say that in Istanbul

- Sultanahmet can still be higher risk
- But hotels, restaurants, walks on the Bosphorus or on the Asian side and visits to modern museums seem to be quite free of risk.

My younger daughter visiting us from Chicago (who is a member) took us to lunch and a tour of the new "Soho House" which used to be the American Consulate in Istanbul and a great mansion before that. It is well worth visiting or staying.

Bebek Hotel is terrific, Four Seasons Bosphorus and Ciragan Kempinsky were over-priced but may offer some discounts due to decrease of tourists. Radisson Blue Bosphorus and House Hotel at Ortakoy are also good choices. Sumahan is idyllic.

- There are also possibilities of travel by sea with public ferries and private transport in Istanbul, which are probably quite safe.

- The best advice is not to walk or stay close to groups, Turkish or foreign, any police or military vehicle and/or any official looking building when in the old historic city.


If you are quite young, you may delay visiting, but if over sixty, you may not find Turkey to become any safer in the coming decade or two.

I am very sorry that we did not visit Syria in March 2011 when we could have visited Aleppo and most historic sites including Palmyra quite safely. Now, I am almost 72 and those places are forever gone even if travel to the region may become safe again in 10-15 years.

Good luck on your travels, whatever you decide.
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Jun 11th, 2016, 08:41 AM
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Thanks for the tip about the Soho House.

I take your point about visiting when you can - I am very glad I visited Syria in 2009, and regret not making it to Palmyra on that trip.

Do you have a recommendation for an Istanbul restaurant with a good view? I still remember eating at the Terrace Restaurant on the top floor of the Hotel Armada back in 2006, but while the views were magnificent, the food was only so-so.
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Jun 11th, 2016, 10:07 AM
  #20
 
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Hi Thursday

I ate at Villa Bosphorus some time ago (takne there by a local). As the name indicate it is on the Bosphorus but you have to have imagination to see a villa. We ate in a kind of covered terrace, the food was great (fish, fish and fish) and we were just on the river, with a view on one of the bridges. Not high altitude but real great view.

Chelebi, your posts are always very interesting.
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