Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 11 April 2024, 10:26 NZST
  • Still current at: 19 April 2024

Related news features

COVID-19

If you are planning international travel at this time, please read our COVID-19 related travel advice here, alongside our destination specific travel advice below.

Do not travel

Do not travel within 10 kilometres of the border with Syria due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping and the potential for violence associated with the ongoing conflict in Syria (level 4 of 4). 

Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to the provinces of Hakkari and Sirnak in south-east Türkiye due to the unpredictable security situation and the threat of terrorism and kidnapping (level 3 of 4).

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Türkiye, including in Ankara and Istanbul, due to the heightened threat of terrorism (level 2 of 4).

View Larger Map Close/Open map

Türkiye

Terrorism
There continues to be a high threat of terrorism in Türkiye, with isolated attacks conducted by various terrorist groups or individuals occurring in November 2022 (Istanbul), October 2023 (Ankara) and in January and February 2024 (Istanbul) A series of major attacks took place in 2016-2017, including in tourist areas, a nightclub, and the main international airport, causing multiple deaths and injuries. Although Turkish authorities have successfully disrupted terrorist attack planning in recent years, further attacks cannot be discounted.

Terrorist groups (including those based in Syria and Iraq, as well as domestic-based extremists such as TAK, PKK and DHKP/C), who have claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, have shown the intent to conduct further attacks, including in areas frequented by foreigners. While most terrorist attacks in the past have targeted Turkish government institutions and security forces, attacks have occurred in the past in tourist areas and locations frequented by foreigners. Global events, including the conflict in Gaza and Quran-burning incidents in Europe could result in retaliatory attacks by terrorists targeting places of worship or areas frequented by foreigners.

Istanbul and Ankara
Past attacks in Istanbul and Ankara have included:

-        On 6 February 2024, a terrorist attack occurred at a checkpoint outside Istanbul’s main court, killing one person and injuring five. The two terrorists were killed during the attack.

-        On 28 January 2024, a terrorist attack occurred on the Church of Santa Maria in Istanbul. One person was killed and several wounded.

-        On 1 October 2023, a terrorist attack occurred in Kizilay, Ankara. Two terrorists were killed during the attack and two police were injured.

-        On 13 November 2022, a terrorist attack occurred on Istikal Avenue, in central Istanbul killing 6 people and injuring many more.

-        On 1 January 2017, a shooting attack at the Reina nightclub in central Istanbul killed 39 people, including foreign nationals, and injured at least 70 others.

-        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.

New Zealanders throughout Türkiye are advised to remain alert 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. Be security conscious around landmarks and places known to be frequented by foreigners, such as embassies, tourist locations, shopping malls, entertainment areas, public transport facilities, airports, hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, places of worship and identifiably western businesses.

If you are in a location affected by an attack, you should leave the immediate vicinity as soon as it is safe to do so, follow any instructions given by Turkish authorities and let your family know you are safe and well.

Areas bordering Syria
Fighting in Syria close to the Turkish border is ongoing and the threat of violence, terrorism and military activity are high. Turkish security forces’ presence in border areas has been strengthened and the Turkish government has declared special security zones in villages along Türkiye's border with Syria. The security situation remains unpredictable.

South-east Türkiye
Following the end of a ceasefire in 2015, there have been clashes between Turkish security forces and the PKK. There have been a number of terrorist attacks targeting and killing security force personnel in south-east Türkiye and further attacks are likely. Some temporary military restricted zones have been established in south-eastern provinces such as the Mount Ararat area. Do not attempt to enter these zones.

Kidnapping
There is a threat of kidnapping against foreigners in the regions of Türkiye bordering Syria. We advise that New Zealanders do not travel within 10 kilometres of the border with Syria.

Civil Unrest
Protests and demonstrations may occur throughout Türkiye and can take place 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.

Demonstrations have taken place recently in Türkiye in response to events in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, especially outside of diplomatic missions in Ankara, Istanbul and Adana. There have also been protests aimed at some well-known international hospitality outlets.

New Zealanders in Türkiye are advised to avoid all political gatherings, protests and demonstrations as even those intended to be peaceful can escalate and result in violence. You should adhere to any instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities, including curfews which can be imposed or extended with little warning. Review personal security plans, ensure communication connectivity and remain aware of your surroundings.  

Crime
Crime levels in Türkiye are low, but petty crime such as bag snatching, passport theft, mugging and pickpocketing can occur, especially in major tourist areas.

Travellers are advised to guard against the possibility of food and drink spiking by taking care to ensure food and drink are not left unattended. Sexual assaults have been reported in popular tourist areas, including Istanbul and coastal resort areas, and have occurred in Turkish baths, taxis, and when travelling alone at night.

We advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings at all times and to take steps to safeguard and secure their personal belongings.

Scams
Travellers, particularly in Istanbul, have been targeted by friendly English-speaking locals who offer to take them to a bar for food or drinks, and are then charged incredibly high prices for the bill.  New Zealanders should be wary of any such offers as you may be threatened with violence if you do not pay.

Legal
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 Türkiye. 

Türkiye has strict laws around the use, possession or trafficking of illegal drugs, resulting in penalties such as heavy fines or long prison sentences.

It is a legal requirement to carry some form of identification at all times. Failure to produce identification could result in a fine or arrest. Keep your passport in a safe place and carry a photocopy for identification purposes.

Seismic Activity
Türkiye is located in an active seismic zone, and there is an ongoing possibility of earthquakes.

On 6 February, 2023, a 7.8 magnitude and 7.7 magnitude earthquake occurred in central and southeastern Türkiye. The earthquakes caused extensive damage to infrastructure and services, including electricity, water, roads, telecommunications, and sanitation in the affected areas. 

General Travel Advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Türkiye to avoid offending local sensitivities. Avoid making a critical or defamatory comment about the government, president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk or military operations, including on social media, as this may lead to detainment or prosecution. It is a legal requirement to carry a form of photo identification with you at all times.

The possession, sale and export of antiquities without authorisation may carry heavy penalties including imprisonment of up to 10 years and fines of up to USD 100,000. Travellers are advised to avoid purchasing artefacts, antiques, old coins, fossils, stones or other old objects from traders at ancient sites, local markets or stores.

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

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

 


The New Zealand Embassy Ankara, Türkiye

Street Address Kizkulesi Sokak No.11, Gaziosmanpasa, Ankara , Türkiye Telephone + 90 312 446 3333 Fax +90 312 446 3317 Email newzealandembassyankara@gmail.com Web Site https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/middle-east/turkey/new-zealand-embassy-to-turkey/ Hours Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700

See our regional advice for Europe

Share this page:

Related News features

New Zealand Embassy Türkiye

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

Telephone: + 90 312 446 3333

Fax: +90 312 446 3317

Email: newzealandembassyankara@gmail.com

Website: https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/middle-east/turkey/new-zealand-embassy-to-turkey/

Hours: Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700

Related advice from other countries

Share this page:

Other pages in this section: