Update on travel to Turkey


If you are visiting Istanbul pre- or post- a Mediterranean cruise, or touring Turkey, two of our agents, traveling separately,  just returned home from Turkey last night. One reports that although the rallys have not been in the old city, they were disruptive in the center of the city. During the initial demonstrations, tear gas filled the air around Taksim where some major hotels are located (Intercontinental, Hyatt and others).

Police did use water cannons to disburse demonstrators in those initial events. Guests were advised not to go around Dolmabache Palace where Prime Minister Erdogan has an office. The metro system closed.  The protesters are not terrorists but students, professors and regular citizens, who generally go about their business during the day, and congregate in the evening for their protests. Tourists would not be threatened but certainly could be inconvenienced. One of our clients staying close by the Hyatt (last Saturday ) had no sightseeing options that day.   We were advised to have a scarf handy against the tear gas in the air.  Another of our travel experts has been in Istanbul more recently, and reported no incidents.

A group we have traveling in Istanbul just now was traveling by coach in the city and with our wonderful local representative there, pulled over to meet with student demonstrators and have a dialogue about the issues involved!  What a special opportunity they had.

Things have settled down at this point, and the U.S. Department of State is not advising against travel to Turkey, only to observe caution.  You can read the travel alert here.