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Devastating Earthquakes in Turkey: What Travelers Need to Know

The situation in Turkey after the recent 7.8 and 7.5-magnitude earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks is devastating. Over 20,000 people have lost their lives, tens of thousands of people are injured, and thousands of buildings have collapsed. Governments and institutions across the world are taking action to help and advise people, including travelers. In this article, we will explore what travelers should know about the situation in Turkey.



Is It Safe to Travel to Turkey?

The Turkish government has declared its highest state level of emergency. The UK Foreign Office (FCDO) and the United States government have both issued brief recommendations regarding travel. FCDO has advised citizens to avoid traveling to Turkey at the moment and to stay away from the immediate vicinity of the affected areas. The U.S. government has instructed travelers to avoid visiting areas affected by the earthquakes and warned about limited flights, long wait times at the airports, and the possibility of road or train alternatives.

Even though major cities like Ankara and Istanbul are located hundreds of miles away from the epicenter in Gaziantep and have not been affected, international rescue and medical teams are arriving through these cities. There are also concerns about aftershocks, and the U.S. Embassy has warned that "large aftershocks continue and are likely to persist in the coming days." Travelers should also double-check their flights, as many have been canceled due to the earthquakes and bad weather conditions in Istanbul.


Affected Areas:

The earthquakes took place in Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras province, and 10 provinces in total have been seriously affected: Adana, Adıyaman, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa. Tremors have also had a damaging impact on Syria and were felt in Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine. Travelers should avoid the Syrian-Turkish border and reconsider travel to certain destinations. Ancient cities such as Antakya/Antioch and Sanliurfa have been deeply affected and are now in ruins.


Turkey Travel:

Turkey is a popular travel destination and has been attracting more travelers in recent months with the addition of new routes and direct flights from the United States by Turkish Airlines. Despite travel warnings from the U.S. government related to terrorism and arbitrary detentions, many travelers have found a safe environment in cities such as Antalya, Istanbul, and Ankara.

However, at the moment, travelers should stay up-to-date with the current situation and check for updates and relevant information before traveling. The aftershocks are still a major concern, and the state of emergency for the affected provinces has been declared for three months. In the meantime, travelers can also support relief efforts by donating to organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the White Helmets, the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations, and the Turkish Philanthropy Fund.


The recent earthquakes in Turkey have had a devastating impact on the country, and travelers should exercise caution and stay informed about the situation before planning a trip. While many cities are unaffected, travelers should avoid the affected areas and be aware of the risks associated with aftershocks. In the meantime, travelers can support relief efforts by donating to organizations working to help those affected by the disaster.

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