Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 15 August 2018, 11:30 NZST
  • Still current at: 20 October 2018

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Do not travel

Do not travel 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.  

Do not travel to the city of Diyarbakir, in south-east Turkey.

Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to Ankara and Istanbul due to the heightened threat of terrorism and potential for civil unrest. 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. 

Avoid non-essential travel to the provinces of Batman, Bingol, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hakkari, Hatay, Kilis, Mardin, Mus, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Siirt, Tunceli and Van in south-east Turkey, due to the unpredictable security situation and the threat of terrorism and kidnapping.

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Turkey due to the heightened threat of terrorism and the potential for civil unrest.

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Terrorism
Terrorists are likely to carry out further attacks in Turkey. Terrorist groups, including those based in Syria and Iraq as well as domestic-based extremists, such as TAK, PKK and DHKP/C, have conducted attacks in Turkey and continue to threaten further attacks.

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

-       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.

Further attacks in Ankara and Istanbul are expected. The terrorist groups ISIL, TAK and PKK, 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 recent terrorist attacks in Turkey have targeted Turkish government institutions and security forces, attacks have occurred in tourist areas and locations frequented by foreigners, resulting in deaths and injuries. 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 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. You should avoid all large crowds and public gatherings. 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, places of worship and identifiably western businesses. Take official warnings seriously.

If you are in a location affected by a recent attack, you should avoid the immediate vicinity as soon as it is safe to do so, 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 the threat of violence, terrorist attack and acts of war are high. 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. The security situation remains unpredictable.

South-east Turkey
Following the end of a ceasefire in 2015, there have been clashes between Turkish security forces and the PKK (a designated terrorist actor). There have been a number of terrorist attacks targeting and killing security force personnel in south-east Turkey 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 Turkey bordering Syria. We advise against all travel within 10 kilometres of the border with Syria.

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.

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 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 Turkey are low, but petty crime such as bag snatching, passport theft, mugging and pickpocketing can occur.

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

Legal
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.

Turkey 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 – a photocopy of your passport is sufficient.

General travel advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Turkey to avoid offending local sensitivities.

Turkey is located in an active seismic zone, and there is an ongoing possibility of further earthquakes.

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 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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