The U.S. Department of State upgraded its Turkey statement and is warning U.S. citizens of increased threats from terrorist groups throughout country. It is specifically advising Americans to avoid travel to southeastern Turkey, which borders Syria and Iraq.
“Effective March 29, 2016, the Department of State ordered the departure of family members of U.S. government personnel posted to U.S. Consulate in Adana and family members of U.S. government civilians in Izmir and Mugla provinces, and restricted official travel to Turkey to mission-critical travel only. U.S. Consulate in Adana remains open and will provide all routine consular services. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated March 17, 2016.”
As CNN has reported: “Nearly 100 people have been killed in Turkey in five separate terrorist attacks since the start of 2016. Two of these attacks were attributed to ISIS while the others were carried out by Kurdish separatists.”
The state department says foreign and U.S. tourists have been “explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organizations.” Its statement says: “U.S. citizens are reminded to review personal security plans and remain vigilant at all times. U.S. government personnel in Turkey remain subject to travel restrictions in southeastern provinces of Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, and Elazig. U.S. citizens should avoid areas in close proximity to the Syrian border.”
In particular, the state department advises:
* Avoid travel to southeastern Turkey, particularly near the Syrian border.
* Stay away from large crowds, including at popular tourist destinations.
* Exercise heightened vigilance and caution when visiting public access areas, especially those heavily frequented by tourists.
* Stay away from political gatherings and rallies.
* Follow the instructions of local authorities in an emergency.
* Monitor local media.
*Stay at hotels with identifiable security measures in place.
The U.S. government, following the Brussels terror bombings, issued a travel alert for all of Europe.
The U.K. government also updated its travel advisory, noting there were large bomb attacks in Ankara on February 17, 2016 and March 13, 2016, in which more than 50 people were killed. There were suicide bomb attacks against tourists in Istanbul on January 12 and March 19, in which 14 tourists died.