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Turkey Travel and Security

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We want to set one thing straight: This is a great time to travel to Turkey! With the preponderance of recent news about civil war in neighboring Syria, a suicide bomb among diplomatic quarters of the capital city of Ankara, and a single American woman traveler who was found dead in Istanbul, it is understandable that travelers and their families would be curious about the safety of a trip to Turkey. You may wonder if these events would have an impact on your tour to Turkey and how welcoming the country is to Americans in general.

We can assure you that travel to Turkey is very safe. For one, the eastern frontier with Syria and various cross-border activities including occasional skirmishes and refugee flows is far removed and goes on completely unnoticed from the sites and towns we visit on our trips. The recent discovery in Istanbul of Sarai Sierra, an American woman who was traveling alone is tragic, but we don't know the circumstances other than the unusual fact that she was apparently not robbed or sexually assaulted. Therefore, this incident of an American found dead in Istanbul is an aberration that does not change the wonderful hospitality of Turks and the high degree of safety when you travel to Turkey.

On any Wildland tours to Turkey you will find that Turks are very warm, friendly and trustworthy people, whether you are in the city or in rural areas, this is universal. Turkey is arguably one of the safest countries in the world to visit with a particularly low crime rate when compared to the USA and Western European countries. We advise taking normal precautions by leaving valuables in the safe in your hotel and keeping your bags close on hand when in crowded areas.

Travel to Turkey is very welcoming for Americans, and other foreign visitors, as tourism is critically important to the Turkish economy--and Turkey tourism is booming. Turkey’s tourism industry continues to defy the global economic downturn, climbing one place in the UN World Tourism Organisation’s (WTO) ranking of top ten most visited countries by tourist arrivals, making it now the sixth most visited country in the world.

Americans are among the most favored nationalities of visitors in Turkey as we have a easy-going reputation of openness and generosity. Turks do not let current political events or media issues affect the warmth they show guests in their country; if anything they will go out of their way to thank you for visiting and make sure you feel welcome with kisses and assist you in any way. It is ingrained in the culture to treat tourists as family. Turks are also able to separate the activities of a person’s government from that person herself. If you are interested, many Turks enjoy discussing politics and culture so it is a fun and interesting opportunity to learn and connect. Also there is a longstanding relationship of cooperation between our governments even long before the situation at the Syrian border which has only strengthened our unilateral foreign relations with Turkey (even if the media reports otherwise).

It is also normal to wonder about the religious culture in Turkey and to perhaps imagine it as an Islamic state. In fact, Turkey is similar to the USA in that it is a secular government with segregation of mosque and state! Just as here, the level of religiosity varies from person to person and region to region. For example, most women in the towns and cities do not wear headscarves while in the country, women often wear traditional floral scarves loosely over their hair, similar to what you may see in rural Eastern Europe.

Bordering Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, and Syria, Turkey is truly the crossroads between Europe and Asia. On a Turkey vacation you will be reminded of travel in Southern or Eastern Europe. Yet you also feel like you are in Asia when you wander into one of the old markets or visit a historic mosque and hear to the muezzin call people to prayer several times daily. The Turkish economy is one of the fastest growing GDPs in the world attracting investment from all over the world. Istanbul, for example, feels like any bustling, vibrant modern city of 14 million highly educated and industrious people. Here women and men wear the latest fashions, text on their smart phones and sip coffee at their local café while cheering on their local football team on TV. At night, walking along the popular Istiklal Caddesi pedestrian promenade through the Galata-Beyoglu district is like Times Square times 10!!
Wildland traveler, Deborah Vanderhei, happily exploring the  streets of Istanbul after returning to the city from our Turquoise Coast gulet voyage.
So fear not, it is a safe to travel to Turkey and now is the best time ever!

keeping wild and safe,
 
Wildland Adventures has deep roots in Turkey. Company founder and CEO, Kurt Kutay, is of Turkish heritage and traveled to Turkey on numerous occasions as a boy to stay with his grandmother, aunts and uncles, and many cousins pictured here.  To talk more about travel to Turkey call or email our Turkey expert, Laura Finkelstein who has also lived and traveled throughout Turkey.

Reviews from Recent Travelers

"We loved this trip to Turkey for the diversity of experiences, locations, activity level, cultural and historical exposure, and getting to know other wonderful travelers. Your expertise as adventure travel Turkey experts showed. We were so impressed with the level of organization and professionalism throughout our first experience with Wildland."

Don and Eve Stern
Turquoise Coast Odyssey

"I cannot say enough good things about the food on this trip. It was all delicious and fresh. The meals on the gulet were incredible. All the Cappadocia travel experiences were great, also including food there. The meals at the inn at Sirince – fabulous. The lunch in the little town with the local people was unbelievable – loved that! I loved everything about the trip and loved Turkey. Wildland Adventures did a great job of arranging everything. I wish I could bottle this Turkey vacation-bliss. Teoman was our guide. He was wonderful, intelligent, informed and took great care of us. He gets an A+ from me."

Anita Casale 
Turquoise Coast Odyssey

“Our trip to Turkey was amazing! We loved every day, especially the food! Our guide was great; we all felt very well taken care of and I know that is not always easy with a child, teens, adults and seniors. I definitely recommend Wildland for anyone thinking about Turkey travel.” 

M. Levy Family
Custom Multi-Generation Adventure

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