- Reviewed: 19 March 2020, 14:30 NZDT
- Still current at: 1 December 2020
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There have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Turkey.
Local authorities in countries and territories with confirmed cases of COVID-19 may impose containment measures including travel restrictions and quarantine requirements to prevent the spread of the virus.
Such measures may be imposed at short notice and specific details may change rapidly, including where and to whom they apply to and for how long. All travellers should stay informed of measures being taken by authorities in the areas they are travelling to. We recommend that all travellers consult the official website or the nearest embassy or consulate of your country or territory of destination to find out about any border controls and other measures that may apply to you.
For information on countries and territories which have COVID-19 related border restrictions affecting foreign nationals, including travellers in transit, please check the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website before you travel. IATA provides a comprehensive list of all countries and territories that have imposed COVID-19 related border restrictions and is being continually updated.
As part of its response to managing the COVID-19 outbreak, the New Zealand Government has some temporary travel restrictions in place in New Zealand. Please refer to the New Zealand Ministry of Health website for up to date information.
The security situation in the Middle East region is unpredictable and may become increasingly volatile.
Terrorists are likely to carry out further attacks in Turkey. Terrorist groups, including those based in Syria and Iraq as well as domestic-based extremists, such as TAK, PKK and DHKP/C, have conducted attacks in Turkey and continue to threaten further attacks.
Istanbul and Ankara
Past attacks in Istanbul and Ankara have included:
- On 1 January 2017, a shooting attack at the Reina nightclub in central Istanbul killed 39 people, including foreign nationals, and injured at least 70 others.
- On 19 December 2016, the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at a reception held in a municipal art gallery in Ankara.
- On 10 December 2016, a number of explosions near Besiktas Stadium in Istanbul killed 44 people and injured many more.
- On 28 June 2016, an armed attack and series of suicide bombings occurred at Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport. At least 45 people were killed, including many civilians and foreign nationals.
Although Turkish authorities have successfully disrupted attack planning in the past, further attacks are expected. Terrorist groups, who have claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, have shown the intent to conduct further attacks, including in areas frequented by foreigners. While most recent terrorist attacks in Turkey have targeted Turkish government institutions and security forces, attacks have occurred in tourist areas and locations frequented by foreigners, resulting in deaths and injuries.
New Zealanders throughout Turkey are advised to remain alert and keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities and exercising a high degree of vigilance in public places, especially around government buildings and sites associated with Turkish security forces. Be security conscious around landmarks and places known to be frequented by foreigners, such as embassies, tourist locations, shopping malls, entertainment areas, public transport facilities, airports, places of worship and identifiably western businesses.
If you are in a location affected by an attack, you should leave the immediate vicinity as soon as it is safe to do so, follow any instructions given by Turkish authorities and let your family know you are safe and well.
Areas bordering Syria
Fighting in Syria close to the Turkish border is ongoing and the threat of violence, terrorism and military activity are high. Turkish security forces’ presence in border areas has been strengthened and the Turkish government has declared special security zones in villages along Turkey's border with Syria. The security situation remains unpredictable.
Following the end of a ceasefire in 2015, there have been clashes between Turkish security forces and the PKK. There have been a number of terrorist attacks targeting and killing security force personnel in south-east Turkey and further attacks are likely. Some temporary military restricted zones have been established in south-eastern provinces such as the Mount Ararat area. Do not attempt to enter these zones.
There is a threat of kidnapping against foreigners in the regions of Turkey bordering Syria. We advise that New Zealanders do not travel within 10 kilometres of the border with Syria.
Protests and demonstrations can take place throughout Turkey and could occur at short notice, especially in major cities and in the south-east of the country. There is a higher likelihood of protests and demonstrations occurring on days of national significance.
New Zealanders in Turkey are advised to avoid all political gatherings, protests and demonstrations as even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn violent. Turkish security forces may use tear gas and/or water cannons to disperse demonstrations. You should adhere to any instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities, including curfews which can be imposed or extended with little warning. Review personal security plans, ensure communication connectivity and remain aware of your surroundings.
Crime levels in Turkey are low, but petty crime such as bag snatching, passport theft, mugging and pickpocketing can occur. Travellers are advised to guard against the possibility of food and drink spiking by taking care to ensure food and drink are not left unattended.
We advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings at all times and to take steps to safeguard and secure their personal belongings.
While the Turkish Government recognises dual nationality, it is likely that dual Turkish/New Zealand nationals will be deemed to be Turkish citizens in relation to any legal matter. Therefore, our ability to provide consular assistance may be limited if you are a Turkish/New Zealand dual national who has been detained in Turkey.
Turkey has strict laws around the use, possession or trafficking of illegal drugs, resulting in penalties such as heavy fines or long prison sentences.
It is a legal requirement to carry some form of identification at all times – a photocopy of your passport is sufficient.
General travel advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Turkey to avoid offending local sensitivities.
Turkey is located in an active seismic zone, and there is an ongoing possibility of earthquakes.
The possession, sale and export of antiquities without authorisation may carry heavy penalties including imprisonment of up to 10 years and fines of up to USD 100,000. Travellers are advised to avoid purchasing artefacts, antiques, old coins, fossils, stones or other old objects from traders at ancient sites, local markets or stores.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Turkey should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in Turkey are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The New Zealand Embassy Ankara, Turkey
Street Address Kizkulesi Sokak No.11, Gaziosmanpasa, Ankara , Turkey Telephone + 90 312 446 3333 Fax +90 312 446 3317 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/turkey Hours Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700
New Zealand Honorary Consulate Istanbul, Turkey
Street Address Inonu Caddesi No No: 48/3 Taksim, 34437 Istanbul, Turkey Telephone +90 212 244 0272 Fax +90 212 251 4004 Email email@example.com
See our regional advice for Europe
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New Zealand Embassy Turkey
Kizkulesi Sokak No.11, Gaziosmanpasa, Ankara , Turkey
Telephone: + 90 312 446 3333
Fax: +90 312 446 3317
Hours: Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700