SOMETIMES, when I mention I'm going to Turkey, people look shocked.
“Aren’t there terrorists there?” they say.
The bad news
They’re right – Turkey’s long history does include a number of terrorist incidents. There has been unrest, and there has been fighting. In Turkey’s south east the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has carried out a number of attacks. Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir have also been targeted, as well as a couple of Mediterranean resorts.
The Foreign Commonwealth Office website says:
We advise against all but essential travel in the provinces of Hakkari, Sirnak, Siirt and Tunceli and visitors should remain vigilant when travelling in other provinces in south eastern Turkey.
The good news
Headlines and news bulletins about acts of violence in Turkey can make an impression on anyone looking for a holiday in the sun. But the reality is that you’re just as likely to suffer from a terrorist attack on your own turf. European centres like London, Paris and Madrid have all suffered terrorist attacks – but it’s unlikely tourists would think to postpone their visits to these places.
Most tourists and expat home buyers tend to travel to Turkey's south west, to areas such as Bodrum, Antalya and Fethiye, where terrorist attacks are virtually unheard of.
Around 2,170,000 British tourists visited Turkey in 2008. Not one was injured or harmed or even witnessed any acts of terrorism. In fact, statistics show that you’re more likely to win the lottery or be struck by lightning than experience a terrorist attack. The reality is that the dangers experienced by visitors to Turkey are far more mundane: sunburn, for example. But despite repeated warnings, people still like to sit out in the sun. Go figure.
So have no fear when you travel to Turkey. But don’t forget your sunscreen.