Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 26 April 2017, 14:00 NZST
  • Still current at: 21 November 2017

Extreme Risk

There is extreme risk to your security within 10 kilometres of the border with Syria due to the threat of terrorism and kidnapping and the potential for violence associated with the ongoing conflict in Syria. We advise against all travel to this area. 

There is extreme risk to your security in the city of Diyarbakir, in south-east Turkey, due to ongoing security force operations in the Sur district and we advise against all travel.

High Risk

There is high risk to your security in Ankara and Istanbul due to the heightened threat of terrorism and potential for civil unrest. We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to these cities. New Zealanders transiting Ankara or Istanbul on their way to other destinations in Turkey are advised to minimise their transit time in Ankara or Istanbul and avoid tourist sites in these two cities. 

There is high risk to your security in the provinces of Batman, Bingol, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hakkari, Hatay, Kilis, Mardin, Mus, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Siirt, Tunceli and Van in south-east Turkey. We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to these provinces due to the unpredictable security situation and the threat of terrorism and kidnapping.

Some Risk

There is some risk to your security elsewhere in Turkey due to the heightened threat of terrorism and the potential for civil unrest and we advise caution.

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State of Emergency
Following an unsuccessful military coup attempt on 15-16 July 2016, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency to allow for additional security measures to be implemented, including an increased security presence in public places. The state of emergency remains in force. New Zealanders currently in Turkey are advised to follow the instructions of local authorities.

Security has been enhanced at airports with additional identification checks and documentation requirements introduced. Turkish citizens belonging to certain occupations may be asked to produce a letter from their employer when leaving the country. This may impact on dual Turkish/New Zealand citizens when trying to leave Turkey.

While the Turkish Government recognises dual nationality, it is likely that dual Turkish/New Zealand nationals will be deemed to be Turkish citizens in relation to any legal matter. Therefore, our ability to provide consular assistance may be limited if you are a Turkish/New Zealand dual national who has been detained in Turkey. 

Terrorism
There is a very high threat from terrorism in Turkey. Terrorist groups, including those based in Syria and Iraq as well as domestic-based extremists, such as TAK, PPK and DHKP/C, have conducted attacks in Turkey and continue to threaten further attacks.

Istanbul and Ankara
In the past year, there has been an increase in attacks in Ankara and Istanbul. Recent incidents include:

-       On 1 January 2017, a shooting attack at the Reina nightclub in central Istanbul killed 39 people, including at least 15 foreigners, and injured 69 others.
-       On 19 December 2016, the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at a reception held in a municipal art gallery in Ankara.
-       On 10 December 2016, a number of explosions near Besiktas Stadium in Istanbul killed 38 people and injured many more.
-       On 28 June 2016, an armed attack and series of suicide bombings occurred at Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport. At least 45 people were killed, including many civilians and foreign nationals.
-       On 19 March 2016, a suicide bombing in Istiklal Street in central Istanbul killed 5 people, including foreigners, and injured a number of others.
-       On 13 March 2016, an explosion in the Kizilay district in central Ankara killed 37 people and injured many more.

Further attacks in Ankara and Istanbul in the near future are expected. The terrorist groups ISIL, TAK and PKK, who have claimed responsibility for a number of recent attacks, have shown the intent to conduct further attacks, including in areas frequented by foreigners.

We continue to advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to Ankara and Istanbul. New Zealanders transiting Ankara or Istanbul on their way to other destinations in Turkey are advised to minimise their transit time and avoid tourist sites in these two cities.

If you choose to travel to Ankara or Istanbul, be vigilant in public places and ensure you register your details on SafeTravel.

While most recent terrorist attacks in Turkey have targeted Turkish government institutions and security forces, increasingly attacks have occurred in tourist areas and locations frequented by foreigners, resulting in deaths and injuries. Attacks could occur anywhere in Turkey, including in Izmir, Adana, other major centres, tourist areas and along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts. On 5 January 2017, an explosion outside a courthouse in central Izmir killed 2 people and injured at least 7 others. On 17 December 2016, an explosion in the city of Kayseri killed 14 people and injured many more. The attack targeted a bus carrying Turkish soldiers.

New Zealanders throughout Turkey are advised to remain vigilant and keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities and exercising a high degree of vigilance in public places, especially around government buildings and sites associated with Turkish security forces. You should avoid all large public gatherings and be security conscious around landmark places known to be frequented by foreigners, such as embassies, tourist locations, shopping malls, entertainment areas, public transport facilities, airports, places of worship and identifiably western businesses.

If you are in a location affected by a recent attack, you should avoid the immediate vicinity, follow any instructions given by Turkish security forces and let your family in New Zealand know you are safe and well.

Areas bordering Syria
Fighting in Syria close to the Turkish border is ongoing and there is a high potential for spillover violence in areas near the border in Turkey. Turkish security forces’ presence in border areas has been strengthened and the Turkish government has declared special security zones in villages along Turkey's border with Syria. Due to the porous nature of Turkey’s border with Syria, ISIL has the capacity to carry out attacks and kidnappings in these areas. We advise against all travel to within 10 kilometres of the border with Syria.

South-east Turkey
Following the end of a ceasefire in 2015, there have been clashes between Turkish security forces and the PKK as well as a heightened threat from terrorism in south-east Turkey, where the PKK has focused its activity. There have been a high number of attacks targeting and killing security force personnel in this area and further attacks are likely.

Kidnapping
The risk to foreign nationals of kidnapping extends from Syria to the regions of Turkey bordering Syria. Groups operating in northern Syria have the capacity to carry out kidnappings across the border. Reporting indicates that ISIL have in the past planned kidnapping operations specifically targeting Westerners inside Turkey.

Civil unrest
Protests and demonstrations take place regularly throughout Turkey and could occur at short notice, especially in major cities and in the south-east of the country. There is a higher likelihood of protests and demonstrations occurring on days of national significance.

On 16 April 2017, a national referendum on a constitutional reform package was held. Political tensions following the referendum remain heightened. There is the potential for further political gatherings and demonstrations in relation to the referendum. New Zealanders in Turkey are advised to avoid all political gatherings, protests and demonstrations as even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn violent. Turkish security forces may use tear gas and/or water cannons to disperse demonstrations. You should adhere to any instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities, including curfews issued in response to protest activity.

General travel advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in Turkey should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Turkey are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


The New Zealand Embassy Ankara, Turkey

Street Address Kizkulesi Sokak No.11, Gaziosmanpasa, Ankara , Turkey Telephone + 90 312 446 3333 Fax +90 312 446 3317 Email newzealandembassyankara@gmail.com Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/turkey Hours Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700

New Zealand Honorary Consulate Istanbul, Turkey

Street Address Inonu Caddesi No No: 48/3 Taksim, 34437 Istanbul, Turkey Telephone +90 212 244 0272 Fax +90 212 251 4004 Email nzhonconist@hatem-law.com.tr

See our regional advice for Europe

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New Zealand Embassy Turkey

Street Address
Kizkulesi Sokak No.11, Gaziosmanpasa, Ankara , Turkey

Telephone: + 90 312 446 3333

Fax: +90 312 446 3317

Email: newzealandembassyankara@gmail.com

Website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/turkey

Hours: Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700

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