The UK has relaxed its travel advisories for certain regions of Turkey, no longer recommending against visits to some regions in the southeast.
The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) has recently reviewed and updated its advice for the country, which shares a border with Syria along its southeast and saw an attempted coup in 2016, which was followed by a two-year state of emergency.
Where the office had previously advised against all but essential travel to areas of Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep and Siirt provinces, these areas are now considered safe to travel to, and travellers are simply advised to consult the FCO’s travel advice before their trip. The FCO has also relaxed the recommendation against all travel to the city of Diyarbakir to “all but essential travel”. The government continues to advise against all but essential travel to all other areas of Sirnak, Mardin, Kilis (including Kilis city) and Hatay provinces, and the provinces of Diyarbakir, Tunceli and Hakkari. As Turkey shares a border with Syria, the government still advises against all travel to areas within ten kilometres of the border. See the FCO’s map here.
This may come as welcome news for travellers who want to visit spots like Şanlıurfa – also known as Urfa. The spiritual centre is home to significant spots like the temple of Göbekli Tepe, an archaeological site that some believe to be the world’s first place of worship. Gaziantep is famous for its pistachio baklava – which has a protected designation from the EU.
While the region has seen instability in recent years, the UK government notes that British travellers made more than 2.3 million visits to Turkey in 2018, most of which were without incident. However, travellers are still advised regardless of where they visit to be aware of their surroundings and to be careful in crowded places that are popular with travellers and during festive periods.
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