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State Department: Turkey - Warning, March 13, 1992

March 13, 1992

Summary. The Department of State continues to warn American citizens to exercise caution in Turkey and to defer all non-essential and tourist travel to southeastern Turkey. Areas to avoid are specified in the full text below. Americans may travel to the key tourist destinations of western Turkey in relative security by taking normal precautions. While there have been a number of urban terrorist attacks, Turkish authorities are actively working to prevent terrorism. Unauthorized purchase or removal of antiquities and cultural artifacts is strictly forbidden. End summary.

The Department of State warns American citizens to exercise caution in Turkey. While Turkish authorities are actively working to prevent terrorism, urban terrorist attacks have caused injuries and loss of life. Several bombs have exploded in Istanbul in recent weeks, although most were not in areas frequented by foreigners. Terrorist attacks have also targeted the personnel and property of organizations with official and commercial ties to the United States. In addition, visitors may encounter unexpected street demonstrations. American citizens should avoid areas where such demonstrations are in progress. Travelers to the main tourist destinations should also take normal personal safety precautions aginst petty crime.

United States citizens should defer all non-essential and tourist travel to southeastern Turkey. Three Americans were kidnapped in Bingol Province in August 1991, and held for three weeks. Other foreign travelers have also been kidnapped. Sporadic attacks by terrorists continue to occur against Turkish police and civilians in several southeastern provinces of Turkey. The Turkish Government has established an emergency situation Regional Governor at Diyarbakir who has authority over the following provinces: Diyarbakir, Sirnak, Batman, Bingol, Van, Siirt, Mardin, Hakkari, Tunceli, and Elazig. In addition, this Regional Governor also exercises some authority over the adjacent provinces of Bitlis, Adiyaman and Mus.

Travelers should also note that there have been separatist terrorist incidents in other provinces of eastern Turkey including Kars, Agri, Kahraman Maras, Sanliurfa, Malatlya, Erzincan and Erzurum. In Kars province, a group of foreign tourists, including Americans, was attacked by terrorists.

Individuals who must travel to southeastern Turkey despite this warning should be off the road well in advance of dusk and should not travel until daybreak. Travel off main highways or in remote areas should be avoided. Travelers should cooperate with travel restrictions or other security measures imposed by Turkish authorities. Visitors to other parts of Turkey are likewise urged to avoid travel by road at night due to local driving conditions.

U.S. citizens traveling to Turkey should check upon arrival with the U.S. Embassy in Ankara or the U.S. Consulates in Istanbul, Izmir, or Adana to learn whether there are special travel restrictions in particular provinces.

Finally, travelers are reminded that unauthorized purchase or removal from Turkey of antiquities or other important cultural artifacts is strictly forbidden. Violation of this law may result in imprisonment. Travelers who wish to purchase such items should always insist that the seller provide a receipt and the official museum export certificate required by law.

No. 92-49

This replaces the January 8, 1992 travel advisory to reflect recent bombings in Istanbul.

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