Is Istanbul Safe for Tourists?
Photo courtesy Thinkstock.
The Istanbul Ataturk Airport reopened on Wednesday, June 29, but will travelers return to the city?
Turkey’s president, Tayyip Erdogan, assured visitors that the city was safe saying that the bombings, which no terrorist organization has claimed, could have happened anywhere.
"The bombs that exploded in Istanbul today could have gone off at any airport in any city," he said in a statement. "Make no mistake: For terrorist organizations, there is no difference between Istanbul and London, Ankara and Berlin, Izmir and Chicago."
In the U.S., the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has reached out to its partners in Turkey to offer assistance.
"Our thoughts are with the citizens of Turkey today, especially those who lost loved ones,” said ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby in a statement. “ASTA offers its sympathy and support to all those impacted by these terrorist attacks against innocent family, friends and neighbors. We’re reaching out to our 35 member agencies in Turkey to offer any assistance we can. Our hearts go out to you, and we pray for everyone's safety and for peace in Turkey."
The Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s also shared the following statement, assuring people that security is of the utmost importance.
“As the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, we would like to express our gratitude for those who showed their support to the Turkish public after the hateful attacks that took place on June 28, 2016, in the Istanbul Ataturk Airport,” said the statement. “We would also kindly inform the public that right after the hateful attack all the necessary security measures have been taken by the state’s security forces and that as of today the Airport is open to the air traffic and all the services are continuing.”
On June 27, the U.S. Department of State had updated a previous travel warning regarding Turkey, advising U.S. visitors of the safety situation within the country and, in particular, to avoid travel near the Syrian border.
Since the attacks, the U.S. Department of State has updated the warning.
“The United States strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack on Istanbul's Ataturk Airport,” said deputy department spokesperson Mark C. Toner. “We extend our condolences to the families of the victims and our hopes for a quick recovery for the wounded. We will remain in close touch with Turkish authorities throughout the investigation.
“We stand in solidarity with our NATO Ally Turkey in combating the threat of terrorism,” he continued. “Sadly, this murderous attack is only the latest in a series of attacks aimed at killing and maiming innocent civilians. Such attacks will only reinforce our determination to work with the Government of Turkey to counter the scourge of terrorism and support all those across the region who are working to promote peace and reconciliation.”
Information for Travelers
If you are traveling to Istanbul, there are some steps you can take to enhance your security.
The U.S. Department of State offers the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and receive updates on travel warnings and security.
Contact information for the embassy is: American Embassy Ankara, 110 Atatürk Blvd., Kavaklidere, 06100; phone: 90-312-455-5555.
For more Impacting Travel News
More by Janeen Christoff
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Airlines & Airports