US Embassy Warns of Possible Terrorist Attacks in Turkey

All U.S. flights to and from Turkey are prohibited
July 17, 2016 Updated: July 17, 2016    

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey issued a series of security warnings after a July 15 coup attempt that threw the country into turmoil. The embassy told American citizens and nationals to avoid traveling to southeastern Turkey, particularly near the Syrian border.

“We suggest U.S. citizens reconsider travel to Turkey at this time,” the embassy, based in Ankara, said in a statement. “Foreign and U.S. tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organizations.”

Flights from Turkey into the United States are also prohibited.

“U.S. airline carriers are currently prohibited from flying to or from Istanbul and Ankara airports. All airline carriers, regardless of country of registry, are currently prohibited from flying into the United States from Turkey either directly or via a third country,” said the embassy.

Safety measures suggested by the embassy include:

  • Avoid travel to southeastern Turkey, particularly near the Syrian border.
  • Stay away from large crowds, including at popular tourist destinations.
  • Exercise heightened vigilance and caution when visiting public access areas, especially those heavily frequented by tourists.
  • Stay away from political gatherings and rallies.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities in an emergency.
  • Stay at hotels with identifiable security measures in place.
  • Monitor local media.

The embassy suggests travelers enroll in the STEP program, which registers your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 

U.S. Government personnel in Turkey remain subject to travel restrictions in the southeastern provinces of Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, and Elazig.  

A faction within Turkey’s military claimed to have taken over control of the country in a coup after troops were deployed in Istanbul and Ankara on July 15. Turkish officials reclaimed control of the country and arrested or fired thousands of troops and judges.

The chaos on Friday night and through Saturday left about 265 people dead and over 1,400 wounded.