Turkey - Consular Information Sheet
July 5, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Turkey is a moderately developed
nation with a wide range of tourist facilities of all classes
in the main tourist destinations.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required.
Holders of tourist passports can purchase a sticker visa at the
port of entry for $45. For further information, travelers in the
U.S. may contact the
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey at 2525 Massachusetts Avenue,
NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone: (202) 612-6700, or the
Turkish consulates general in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, or
New York. Information may also be found at Internet address http://www.turkey.org.
Overseas, travelers may contact a Turkish embassy or consulate.
Holders of official and diplomatic passports on official business
must obtain a visa prior to arrival in Turkey from a Turkish embassy
or consulate. Holders of official and diplomatic passports on
private travel may receive a visa free of charge upon arrival
from a Turkish embassy or consulate, or obtain one upon arrival
at the port of entry for $45. All travelers are advised to obtain
entry stamps at the first port of entry on the passport page containing
their visa prior to transferring to domestic flights. Failure
to obtain entry stamps at the port of entry has occasionally resulted
in serious difficulties for travelers when they attempt to depart
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure.
DUAL NATIONALITY: Male U.S. citizens between the ages
of 20 and 38 who are also considered to be Turkish citizens may
be subject to conscription and compulsory military service upon
arrival, and to other aspects of Turkish law while in Turkey,
particularly if they entered the country on and are residing in
Turkey based on their Turkish identity documents. Those who may
be affected should inquire at a Turkish embassy or consulate to
determine their status prior to traveling. In addition to being
subject to all Turkish laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals
may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations
on Turkish citizens. For additional information, see the
Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov
for our Dual Nationality flyer.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Since the 1970's, urban and rural
acts of terrorism throughout Turkey have caused loss of life and
injury to government officials and civilians, including some foreign
tourists. These incidents occurred both in eastern Turkey and
in urban areas such as Ankara, Izmir, Adana, and Istanbul. In
the past year, Turkish police and military authorities have conducted
very successful operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party
(PKK) in southeastern Turkey and various leftist and fundamentalalist
groups throughout Turkey. While these groups have not been eliminated
altogether, their operational capabilities have greatly diminished.
Although sporadic incidents involving terrorist groups continue
to occur, the general security situation throughout Turkey is
stable at this time.
Eastern provinces: The PKK remains a residual presence in certain
parts of southeastern Turkey. The following provinces are under
a state of emergency: Hakkari, Sirnak, Tunceli, and Diyarbakir.
The following additional areas are considered "sensitive
areas" or one level below state-of-emergency status: Van,
Sirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, and Bitlis. The provinces in
Adana, Adiyaman, Antakya (Hatay), Elazig, Gaziantep, Kahraman
Maras, Kilis, Malatya, Icel, Osmaniye and Sanliufra are not under
a heightened state of alert. Mount Ararat is a special military
zone and access permission must be obtained from the Turkish Government.
Visitors to any part of souteastern Turkey are advised to travel
only during daylight hours and on major highways. The Turkish
Jandarma and police forces monitor checkpoints on roads throughout
the southeastern region. Drivers and all passengers in the vehicle
should be prepared to provide identification if stopped at a checkpoint.
Travelers are cautioned not to accept letters, parcels or other
items from strangers for delivery either in or outside of Turkey.
The PKK has attempted to use foreigners to deliver messages and
packages in or outside of Turkey. If discovered, individuals could
be arrested for aiding and abetting the PKK - a serious charge.
The Turkish Government takes air safety very seriously, and maintains
strict controls, particularly on international flights. Nevertheless,
Turkey has experienced recent hijackings. Unstable individuals
who each falsely claimed to have a bomb or weapon hijacked domestic
Turkish Airlines (THY) flights in February and September 1998.
Both incidents were successfully resolved without injury. Neither
represented a breach of airport security. A THY flight was hijacked
in October 1998. Turkish authorities successfully ended the hijacking
with no injury to passengers or crew.
A "Southeastern Turkey Briefing" is available on the
Embassy Ankara website under "Security Matters"
CRIME: Street crime is not a major concern in Turkey.
However, as in other large metropolitan areas throughout the world,
there is some crime against tourists, particularly in Istanbul,
including pickpocketing, purse snatching and mugging. In the past
three years, dozens of American, Canadian and European tourists
were robbed by English-or French-speaking foreigners, who identified
themselves as Tunisian, Moroccan, Kuwaiti, or Romanian. These
persons befriended the tourists and then drugged them using teas,
juice, alcohol, or food. We have been informed that the two most
common drugs are nembitol, known on the street as sari bombasi
(the yellow bomb) and benzodiazepine. In one case an American
died from the effects of the drug that had been intended to put
him to sleep.
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. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's
pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad,
for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available
by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
An "Istanbul Street Crime Briefing" is available on
U.S. Embassy Ankara's web site at http://www.usemb-ankara.org.tr
or from the Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov/turkey.html.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities are available,
but may be limited outside urban areas. Cutting edge medical care
does not exist in Turkey. Neither do the accepted practices of
frequent soapy handwashing or covering of the mouth when coughing
or sneezing and then washing hands. Medical providers are not
required to update their knowledge regularly therefore medical
treatment is often very dated.
There is a serious overuse of medications, especially antibiotics.
Virtually no effort is expended to determine the appropriate antibiotic.
Often patients are given six or more medications for an illness
that may not require any drug therapy, or one drug after another
is tried for a few days until the patient responds.
Complex cases involving life-threatening illness or injury cannot
be managed in Turkey. Preventative health care is unknown. U.S.
citizens traveling or residing in Turkey are urged to purchase
insurance that will cover the costs of a medical evacuation should
a serious problem occur.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior
to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas
and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover the health
care costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental
coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer
insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred
overseas including emergency services such as medical evacutions.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme
difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your
trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare
provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses
you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Food and water-borne diseases
are prevalent throughout Turkey. In the southeastern city of Diyarbakir,
there are recurring outbreaks of dysentery, typhoid fever, meningitis
and other contagious diseases.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions can
be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's
hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747),
fax 1-800-CDC-FAXX (1-800-232-3299), or via CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Turkey is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Roads in Turkey run the full spectrum from single lane country
roads to modern, divided, Trans-European motorways built to European
standards. Highways in the southwestern, coastal portion of the
country, which is frequented by tourists, are generally in good
condition and well maintained. Further information is available
on the Embassy's website, under "driver safety". For
additional information about road safety, see the Department
of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page road safety overseas
feature at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
For specific information concerning Turkey drivering permits,
vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact
Tourism and Information Office in New York via the Internet
at http://www.Turkey.org/Turkey, or by writing to 821 United Nations
Plaza, New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 687-2194, 687-2195,
fax (212) 599-7568.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of Turkey's civil aviation authority
as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety
standards for oversight of Turkey's air carrier operations. For
more information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation
within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the
FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov.avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Turkey customs authorities may enforce
strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export
from Turkey of items such as antiquities or other important cultural
artifacts. 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. It
is advisable to contact the Embassy of Turkey in Washington or
one of Turkey's consulates in the United States for specific information
regarding customs requirements.
Customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary
Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional
equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and
fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters located at the
U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the
Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the
ATA carnet in the United States. For additional information
contact the Council at (212) 354-4480, send an e-mail to email@example.com,
or visit their web site at http://www.atacarnet.com.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Turkey's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Turkey are strict and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Several major earthquake fault
lines cross Turkey. A number of Turkish cities including Istanbul,
Izmir, and Erzincan lie on or near fault lines, making these areas
particularly vulnerable to earthquakes. General information about
natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from
the U.S. Federal
Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov. Detailed
information on Turkey's earthquake fault lines is available from
the U.S. Geological
Survey (USGS) at http://www.usgs.gov.
For information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or tel: (202)
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans
living in or visiting Turkey are encouraged to register at the
Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Turkey and obtain updated
information on travel and security within Turkey.
U.S. Embassy in Ankara is at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, tel: (90)(312)
468-6110, fax (90)(312) 467-0019. Visa information is available
at (90)(312) 468-6110. The Internet address is http://www.usemb-ankara.org.tr.
messages about consular matters may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consulate in Istanbul is at 104-108 Mesrutiyet Caddesi, Tepebasi,
tel: (90)(212) 251-3602, fax (90)(212) 252-7851. Istanbul-specific
information can also be accessed via the Consulate's website http://www.usisist.org.tr.
messages about consular matters may be sent to email@example.com
The U.S. Consulate in Adana is at the corner of Vali Yolu and
Ataturk Caddesi, tel: (90)(322) 459-1551, fax (90)(322) 457-6591.
The U.S. Consular Agent in Izmir is at Kazim Dirik Caddesi 13/8,
Atabay Is Merkezi, Daire 805, Pasaport, Izmir, 35210, tel: (90)(232)
441-0072/2203, fax (90)(232) 441-2373. The Consular Agency hours
are 9:00 to 12:00 and 2:00 to 4:00, Monday through Thursday. This
office is closed to the public, except for emergencies, on Fridays.
A variety of information on visa procedures, American citizen
services, road safety, etc. is also available on the
mission's website, http://www.usemb-ankara.org.tr.