Following an attempted coup in July 2016, a 3-month long State of Emergency has been declareed. Check out our latest travel alerts and warnings about Turkey here.
We’ll say it from the start though. It is no secret that Turkey is prone to terrorist attacks. Read on to find out more about terrorism in Turkey and if you are covered by travel insurance.
There is no way of putting it lightly – terrorists can attack in Turkey, and when they do, people get injured and killed.
The Australian Department Of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued warnings saying travellers should exercise a “high degree of caution” due to the level of threat, with some areas flagged as “reconsider your need for travel”. Other foreign governments have similar warnings for their citizens.
The key to minimizing your risk is sticking to the west of Turkey. A minority of terror attacks occurred there, and the majority of those attacks were aimed at police, military or government units. Terror groups in Turkey, by and large, target workers with positions of authority and tend to avoid civilians. (Although this is not strictly a rule, as a 2016 attack on tourists in the precinct of the Blue Mosque atest!)
The large majority of terror strikes in the country occur between terrorist groups and Turkish security forces in the East and South East, and on the border regions with Syria, Iraq and Iran.
It’s important that warnings issued by your respective foreign offices are heeded but it's also equally important not to eschew travel to a magnificent part of the world due to paranoia.
If you do decide to travel to Turkey, stay abreast of all local information regarding any potential threats – talk to locals, read the papers and news websites – stay informed and you will have a safer trip.
The ANZAC Day Dawn Service on the coast of Gallipoli has become a pilgrimage for many thousands of Australians and New Zealanders who come to commemorate the fallen in war and reflect on the ANZAC spirit. But, being a large tourist attraction, some have raised concerns about the safety of the event. So is the dawn service secure? We asked Mat McLachlan, head of Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours about what kind of preventative measures are put in place.
“The security at the Gallipoli Dawn Service is always tightly controlled. Visitors have to submit to bag checks and x-rays, plus there are hundreds of armed Turkish security personnel in attendance.
“We advise all our visitors to get to the site as early as possible and expect delays due to the high levels of security. The whole operation is extremely well run and the safety and security of the attendees is the number one priority.
“Security is so tight that the biggest problem we usually have to contend with is passengers who lose patience with the screening process! But at such an important international event, security has to be given top priority.”
But despite the thick layer of protection, Mat also encourages visitors to Turkey to keep an eye out for any risks.
“We do advise our passengers that there have been terrorist attacks in Turkey in the past and to keep themselves informed of developments at www.smartraveller.gov.au . There have been no terrorist attacks at Gallipoli during the Dawn Service in the past.”
“We tell our passengers that security levels at the Dawn Service are extremely high, and therefore this is probably as safe as they will be during their entire time in Turkey.
“Turkey has had some problems with terrorism in the past, so it is up to every passenger to decide whether they wish to make the journey or not, but Turkish and Australian authorities treat security at Gallipoli as an absolute priority. In my opinion the chance of a terror attack at the Dawn Service is very small.”
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in the rare event of a terrorist attack, and are injured, fortunately you are completely covered for any medical expenses incurred.
However, it is important to check the government status of the area you are visiting – at time of publication the status for certain areas in Turkey sit at Reconsider Your Need To Travel.
If warnings for these areas change to Do Not Travel by your foreign office, and you are injured, you may have your claim voided if there is suspicion you placed yourself at voluntary risk.
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