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XYZ Consular Info: Turkey
Turkey Consular Information Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
April 30, 2002
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 all types
of passports can purchase a 90-day sticker visa at the port of entry for
$45, if they are traveling to Turkey as tourists. 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 from a Turkish embassy or consulate before
arrival in Turkey. Holders of official and diplomatic passports on private
travel may receive a visa free of charge from a Turkish embassy or
consulate, or obtain one upon arrival at the port of entry for $45. All
those who are planning to stay more than three months for any purpose are
required to obtain a visa from a Turkish embassy or consulate. Such
travelers must also apply for a residence/work permit or Turkish ID card
within the first month of their arrival in Turkey. For example, this would
include anyone who plans to spend more than three months doing research,
studying, or working in Turkey.
All travelers are advised to obtain entry stamps at the first port of entry
on the passport page containing their visa before 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 the country.
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 over the age of 18 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. Those who may be affected are strongly advised to
consult with Turkish officials and inquire at a Turkish embassy or consulate
to determine their status before 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 on dual nationality, see the Consular Affairs home
page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality
SAFETY AND SECURITY: The general security situation throughout Turkey is
stable, but sporadic incidents involving terrorist groups have occurred.
The Turkish government is committed to eliminating terrorist groups such as
the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) and various leftist and fundamentalist
groups. Although these groups have not completely disbanded, their
operational capabilities have greatly diminished. These groups have used
terrorist activity to make political statements, particularly in Istanbul
and other urban areas of Turkey. No Americans appear to have been targeted
in any recent terrorist incidents in Turkey, but Americans simply in the
wrong place at the wrong time during a terrorist incident could be victims.
In 2000 and 2001, terrorists targeting Turkish officials and various
civilian facilities in Istanbul were responsible for deaths and injuries of
several dozen people. The civilian targets included a number of fast food
EASTERN PROVINCES: The PKK retains 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, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, and
Bitlis. The southeast provinces of 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
Visitors to the emergency and sensitive areas of southeastern 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.
A "Southeastern Turkey Briefing" is available on the Embassy Ankara website
under "Security Matters" at http://www.usemb-ankara.org.tr.
The Turkish Government takes air safety very seriously, and maintains
strict controls, particularly on international flights. Nevertheless,
hijacking attempts have occurred as recently as 2001, when a flight
attendant lost her life during the hijacking of an Istanbul-Moscow flight by
Chechen terrorists. All travelers may be subject to increased scrutiny
because of enhanced airport security measures implemented since 9/11/01.
CRIME: Street crime is not a major concern in Turkey, although it is
increasing in large urban centers such as Istanbul and Izmir. As in other
large metropolitan areas throughout the world, common street crimes include
pickpocketing, purse snatching, and mugging. English-or French-speaking
foreigners, who identified themselves as Tunisian, Moroccan, Egyptian,
Kuwaiti, or Romanian, have also targeted foreign tourists. These persons
have befriended the tourists and then drugged them using teas, juice,
alcohol, or food. Two common drugs used are nembitol, known on the street
as sari bomba (the yellow bomb) and benzodiazepine; when used incorrectly
they can cause death. In similar cases, tourists are invited to visit clubs
or bars, and then presented with inflated bills (often exceeding $1000), and
coerced to pay them by credit card.
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. Travelers
are encouraged to carry a photocopy of their passport, to assist in getting
a replacement passport if the original is stolen. 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 the 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: Turkish hospitals vary greatly. The new, private
hospitals in Ankara and Istanbul have the most modern facilities and
equipment, but still may be unable to treat certain serious conditions. The
State Department recommends medical evacuation for its personnel who will be
giving birth. Those planning to remain in Turkey should consider bringing a
6-month supply of necessary chronic medications (e.g., heart medications,
birth control pills). Not all diagnostic testing (including mammograms) is
up to American standards.
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 evacuations.
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 more
than $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often
face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer before 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:
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Travelers are advised to drink only bottled water
or water that has been filtered and boiled. Bottled beverages are
considered safe to drink. Most local dairy products, including milk,
yogurt, and cheese, are safe to consume. However, care must be taken when
purchasing all perishable products, as many do not have adequate
refrigeration. Travelers are advised to wash vegetables and fruits
thoroughly and to cook meat thoroughly as well.
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
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 or the Turkey Road Report on
For specific information concerning Turkey driving permits, vehicle
inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Turkish 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, 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
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Turkey customs authorities may enforce strict
regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Turkey of
items such as antiquities (very broadly defined) or other important artwork
and 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. Smuggling of large
quantities of other items, such as cigarettes, out of Turkey is also a
punishable offense. Contact the Embassy of Turkey in Washington or one of
Turkey's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding
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, e-mail
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
Below are some of the laws foreign travelers should be aware of:
--Insulting the State: It is illegal to show disrespect to the name or
image of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic,
or to insult the Turkish government, flag, or security forces.
--Proselytizing: Although there is no specific law against proselytizing,
some activities can lead to arrest under laws that regulate expression,
educational institutions, and religious meetings. The Department of State's
Annual Report on International Religious Freedom contains additional
information on religious freedom in Turkey. The report is available on the
Department's website, www.state.gov.
--Cultural Artifacts: Turkish law has a broad definition of "antiquities"
and makes it a crime to remove any from the country. Offenders are
prosecuted. Under Turkish law, all historic sites such as fortresses,
castles and ruins, and everything in them or on the grounds or in the water,
are the property of the Turkish government. While many sites do not have
signs cautioning the unwary, official silence does not mean official
consent. One may buy certain antiquities, but only from authorized dealers
who have been issued a certificate by a museum for each item which they are
authorized to sell. If one has acquired a possible antiquity without having
obtained the necessary certificate, competent museum personnel should
evaluate it before its removal from Turkey.
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
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: 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) 736-7000.
Since August 2000, the Republic of Turkey has been party to the Hague
Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans living in or
visiting Turkey are encouraged to register at the nearest Consular Office,
at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the U.S. consulates in Istanbul or Adana, or
the Consular Agency in Izmir. Updated information on travel and security
within Turkey is available while registering, or on the Embassy website at
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara is at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, tel: (90)(312)
455-5555, fax (90)(312) 468-6131. Visa information is available at
(90)(312) 468-6110. The Internet address is http://www.usemb-ankara.org.tr.
Non-emergency e-mail messages about consular matters may be sent to
The U.S. 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.usconsulate-istanbul.org.tr. Non-emergency e-mail messages about
consular matters may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. A variety of information on visa procedures,
American citizen services, road safety, etc. is also available on the
mission's web site, http://www.usemb-ankara.org.tr.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated July 5, 2001, in order to
update information on Entry Requirements, Safety and Security, Crime, Air
Safety, Medical Facilities, Criminal Penalties, Children's Issues, and
Registration/Embassy and Consulate Locations.