State Department: Turkey - Consular Information Sheet, November 24, 1995
Turkey - Consular Information Sheet
Country Description: Turkey is a moderately developed nation with
extensive tourist facilities of all classes in the main tourist
November 24, 1995
Entry Requirements: A passport and visa are required. Business
and tourist visas cost $20.00. Visas may be obtained prior to
travel from a Turkish embassy or consulate, or at the port of entry.
Bearers of U.S. diplomatic and official passports must obtain visas
at a Turkish Embassy prior to arrival. For further information,
travelers may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey at 1714
Massachusetts Avenue, NW,Washington, D.C. 20036, tel: (202)
659-8200, or the nearest Turkish Consulate in Chicago, Houston, Los
Angeles, or New York.
Areas of Instability: For years, urban and rural acts of terrorism
throughout Turkey have caused injury and loss of life to government
officials and civilians, including some foreign tourists. While
most incidents have occurred in Eastern Turkey, one terrorist group,
the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has begun to target tourist sites
and tourist-oriented facilities in western Turkey in an effort to
inflict economic harm on Turkey. In 1994, PKK bomb attacks at some
of Istanbul's most popular tourist attractions, including St. Sophia
and the covered bazaar, resulted in the death of two foreign
tourists. In July 1995, a leftist youth group took control of the
Galata Tower restaurant in Istanbul which was occupied by a number
of foreign tourists, including three Americans. All were released
unharmed after a brief time. In August 1995, several bombings in
Istanbul resulted in two deaths and 36 injuries.
Intermittent terrorist bombings have also occurred elsewhere,
including Ankara, causing damage to property and loss of life. Due
to PKK bombings on local intercity buses, travelers may be subject
to security baggage screening by the Turkish National Police. Some
terrorist groups have also targeted the personnel and property of
organizations with official and commercial ties to the United States.
Eastern Provinces: With the exception of the Mediterranean and
Black Sea coasts, travel to eastern Turkey is hazardous. Terrorist
acts by the PKK continue throughout the eastern provinces. These
attacks are not only against Turkish police and military
installations but also against civilian targets including public
ground transportation. While most attacks have been at night,
day-time attacks are increasingly frequent. Since 1984, several
thousand Turkish civilians and security personnel have been killed
in terrorist attacks. The PKK has kidnapped foreigners in eastern
Turkey to generate media attention for their separatist cause. A
number of foreigners, including Americans, have been held by the PKK
and eventually released. In 1995, Mt. Ararat was declared a special
military zone and access is now prohibited. In light of the
dangerous security conditions for travelers in eastern Turkey, the
U.S. military has advised its personnel to avoid all tourist travel
to this region. U.S. Embassy and Consulate personnel travel to
eastern Turkey only for essential U.S. government business and only
with prior approval.
Medical Information: Medical facilities are available, but may be
limited outside urban areas. Doctors and hospitals often expect
immediate cash payment for health services. The reported number of
cases of cholera and other water-borne diseases in the metropolitan
Istanbul area has decreased. In the southeastern city of
Diyarbakir, there are recurring outbreaks of dysentery, typhoid
fever, meningitis and other contagious diseases. U.S. medical
insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Travelers
have found that in some cases, supplemental medical insurance with
specific overseas coverage has proved to be useful. Further
information on health matters can be obtained from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline,
tel: (404) 332-4559.
Crime Information: As in other large metropolitan areas throughout
the world, there is some crime against tourists, including
pickpocketing, purse snatching and mugging. In Istanbul, some
tourists have been robbed by other English or French-speaking
foreigners who first befriended them, then drugged them using tea,
juice, alcohol or food. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport
should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest
U.S. embassy or consulate. The Department of State's pamphlet "A
Safe Trip Abroad" is available from the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. It
provides useful information on guarding valuables and protecting
personal security while traveling abroad.
Public Safety: Travel by road in Turkey can be hazardous since
local drivers do not always obey traffic rules or take appropriate
safety measures. Turkey has a very high rate of accident
fatalities. It is imperative to drive very defensively and avoid
driving at night, especially in rural areas. Driving conditions off
the main highways and in remote areas are particularly dangerous.
In the eastern provinces, the incidence of terrorism poses
additional risks for road travelers. Turkish authorities expect
travelers to cooperate with travel restrictions, security check
points and other security measures.
Dual Nationality: U.S. citizens who are also considered to be
Turkish citizens may be subject to compulsory military service and
other aspects of Turkish law while in Turkey. Those who may be
affected can inquire at a Turkish Embassy or Consulate to determine
status. In some instances, dual nationality may hamper U.S.
government efforts to provide protection abroad.
Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the
country in which they are traveling. In Turkey, the penalties for
possession, use, and dealing in illegal drugs are extremely strict,
and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.
Other Pertinent Information: Unauthorized purchase or removal from
Turkey of antiquities or other important cultural artifacts is
strictly forbidden. Violation of this law may result in
imprisonment. At the time of departure, travelers who purchase such
items may be asked to present a receipt from the seller as well as
the official museum export certificate required by law.
Aviation Oversight: As a result of an assessment conducted by the
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in March 1995, the FAA has
found the Government of Turkey's Civil Aviation Authority to not be
in compliance with international aviation safety standards for
oversight of Turkish air carrier operations. While consultations to
correct the deficiencies are ongoing, Turkish air carriers are
permitted to conduct limited operations to the United States subject
to heightened FAA surveillance. The FAA is not providing heightened
surveillance for operations to destinations other than the United
States. For further information, travelers may contact the
Department of Transportation at 1-800-322-7873.
Registration and Embassy and Consulate Location: U.S. citizens who
register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or one of the
U.S. Consulates may obtain updated information on travel and
security in Turkey.
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara is located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard,
telephone (90-312) 468-6110.
The U.S. Consulate in Istanbul is located at 104-108 Mesrutiyet
Caddesi, Tepebasl, tel: (90-212) 251-3602.
The U.S. Consulate in Adana is located at the corner of Vali Yolu
and Ataturk Caddesi, tel: (90-322) 453-9106.
There is a Consular Agent in Izmir at the Turkish American
Association, Sehit Nevres Boulevard, No. 23, Alsancak, telephone
(90-232) 421-3643 or 3644.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated August 25, 1995,
to update information on Areas of Instability.