Is it Safe to Travel to Turkey?

whirling dervishes konya turkey

Before traveling to Turkey, a lot of my friends and family thought I was insane for deciding to go to a country that borders Syria when thousands of people are fleeing there every day. Their fears mimicked those of the news and of what my government feels. Not long before I left, a statement was released urging those who were planning trips to Turkey to cancel due to danger.

Being the stubborn woman that I am, I decided that I’m not living my life in constant fear of something bad happening and I boarded my flight to Istanbul.

While in Turkey, I traveled to three places: Istanbul, Konya, and Göreme (in Cappadocia). Let me tell you the worst three things I experienced in Turkey: 1. A canceled flight due to snow. 2. A terribly disappointing meal from a place that was rated among the top places to eat. 3. Being hit with a snowball during a makeshift snowball fight.

I was not raped. I was not harassed. I was not recruited by ISIS (ISIL). And surprisingly, I was not murdered.
mosque in konya turkey Instead, I was treated better than I have been by anyone in ANY country I’ve visited. I was absolutely blown away by the kindness and hospitality I experienced by the Turks. I was treated to tea almost everywhere I went. People approached me to ask about the United States. One man told me his daughter lives in Atlanta and then told me I was one of his daughters now, and called himself my “Turkish Daddy.” Two guys who worked at a restaurant asked if I would accompany them for a drink one night to show me local spots. Another guy told me not to think of him as a stranger, but instead as my brother. And lastly, one guy approached my sister and me to simply ask if he could practice his English speaking skills with us.

But one of the things several people confided in me was that tourism is down right now in Turkey because so many countries are issuing warnings. As one woman told me, “we hate that people aren’t coming to Turkey anymore. We hate what is happening on our border too, but we would throw ourselves in front of people traveling here in order to protect them from any danger. We don’t want anything bad happening to our visitors.” And I have a hard time believing she was anything but 100% truthful given the experience I had with people there.
hot air balloon in cappadocia turkey

I’m not saying that government warnings are unfounded, but Turkey is the size of Texas. No one ever told me not to live in Austin for 6.5 years because the cartel on the Mexican border was dangerous. So why are we telling people to avoid ALL of Turkey?

I had such an incredible time in Turkey and hate to even imagine not getting to spend the short time I did there. I saw beautiful things, met gorgeous people, and had some amazing experiences.

If you’re worried about safety there, I can completely understand, but I would also urge you to visit, while exercising some precaution. It’s a wonderful country and the people are so lovely.

3 thoughts on “Is it Safe to Travel to Turkey?

  1. When there are eerie and spooky news, people ALWAYS ask “Is it safe to travel in *** now?”. If you asking this, you want smb to make the decision for you, to guarantee your safety. Of course, no one can. Future events are simply not predictable, until, they’ve happened. YOU must make a decision that you can be comfortable with. If you believe that suspense will spoil your trip, you should put off it until a time when you will feel comfortable going.
    As for me, i traveled Turkey with my gf this year. By the way, we used this It was really awesome. And the worst thing I’ve encountered is a headache headache from annoying russian tourists :D

  2. Thank you for your post. It’s so nice to hear when someone likes Turkey and enjoyed a visit there. I’m Turkish-American, I live in the United States, but most of my family lives in Turkey (Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara). I definitely understand concerns people have and everyone has to make their own decisions about where to go and when. But I am so glad you decided to go. Turks have always been known for their hospitality, and I’m so happy to hear that it’s still alive and well. I LOVE Goreme–the people there are so kind and generous. I had one of the best times when I went there. I met so many wonderful people. And it’s not because I’m Turkish. Most Turks think I’m American. Thank you again for sharing your positive experience in Turkey!

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