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Turkey

If you’re travelling to Turkey, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, we advise you to exercise caution. 

Latest travel alerts

Visas

All Irish citizens require a visa to enter Turkey.

In accordance with the new Turkish legislation, the practice of obtaining visas upon arrival to points of entry to Turkey will begin to come to an end as of 11 April 2014. Visitors therefore are strongly advised to obtain an electronic visa prior to departure. You can do so online at: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en

Please note Turkish border authorities will maintain existing procedures for a certain transitional period, to include the 2014 tourism season. Visitors arriving to Turkey without visas will be able to obtain their e-Visas via interactive kiosks placed in Turkish airports. Visitors should be aware that the cost is higher for a Kiosk visa and the process is time consuming on arrival. We therefore encourage all Irish passport holders travelling to Turkey to obtain their e visas in advance of travel.

All other travellers to Turkey should contact their nearest Turkish Embassy in advance of their visit to clarify their visa requirements. Contact details for the Turkish Embassy in Dublin are available at http://dublin.emb.mfa.gov.tr/ContactInfo.aspx

Six month passport validity is required from the date of entry to Turkey. Please check your passport in plenty of time before travel and if it needs to be renewed please see www.passport.ie

We strongly advise against travelling to the border area between Turkey and Syria and Turkey and Iraq due to the current instability in the region. Please see the Safety and Security section of this advice for more information.

Register with us

If you are visiting or planning to stay in Turkey, you should register your details with us so we can find you quickly if there is an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or if you have a family emergency while you are abroad. And, if necessary, we can offer help to you and your family.

Our advice

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Turkey before your trip.

We also recommend reading our Know Before You Go travel guide for practical tips on travelling abroad.

European Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) cannot be used in Turkey.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management. If you need urgent health treatment in Turkey, you should dial 112 to contact the emergency health services.

Contact the Embassy

If there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Ankara or the Honorary Consuls in Antalya, Izmir and Istanbul.

If you phone outside of working hours, leave us a message giving:

  • Your name
  • The nature of your problem
  • Where you are now
  • Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)

We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.

How we can help you

We have a lot of experience helping Irish citizens who run into problems when they’re abroad. Learn more about the kind of emergency assistance we can offer you.

Safety and security

Practical advice

  • Read our Know Before You Go travel guide for useful security tips when travelling abroad
  • Get advice locally about areas of risk and security concerns
  • Take common-sense precautions about safety and security
  • Know who to contact in case of an emergency

Political unrest

The political situation in Turkey is reasonably stable but always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.

We strongly advise against travelling to the border area between Turkey and Syria in light of the current instability in the region.

The Turkish military have operations along the Turkish/Iraqi border and you are strongly advised against all travel to the border provinces of Hakkari, Siirt and Sirnak.

Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational. The police will take measures such as the use of tear gas to control protesters. Stay away from military sites – taking photos of, or near, military or security installations, and some public buildings, may be prohibited.

Terrorism

The threat from terrorism in Turkey remains high. The problem is mainly in the south-east, however, there have been bomb attacks in major Turkish cities, including Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara. Although recent attacks have targeted security forces, and have not been directed at tourists, there have been random attacks in tourist areas in other parts of the country in the past.

Terrorist attacks are, by their nature, random and indiscriminate and cannot be predicted in advance. You are advised to exercise caution, particularly in public places that are frequented by foreigners.

Crime

Violent crime against tourists in Turkey is rare but street robbery and pickpocketing are common in the major tourist areas of Istanbul. There have been a number of cases of theft from apartments in some of the coastal resorts. Take heed of your local tour operator representative’s advice. And wherever you are, take sensible precautions.

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you are alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafes, train and bus stations
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible

Reporting a crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Turkey, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy or the Honorary Consuls if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Turkey, you should be extremely careful. Serious traffic accidents are common, particularly at night. Road safety standards are low, particularly outside towns and cities. Accidents are frequent and are often caused by poor driving, badly maintained vehicles and inadequate lighting.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Be aware of Turkey’s traffic laws, such as speed limits
  • Wear your seatbelts at all times
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Taxis

In Istanbul avoid hailing taxis on the street and only use taxis ordered by your hotel or those ordered directly from a taxi kiosk.

Local laws and customs

Practical advice

  • Read our travel advice, inform yourself before travelling and get advice locally when you arrive
  • Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them
  • Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal

Muslim culture

Turkey is an Islamic country and you should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions. Normally, the dress code in Turkey is the same as in Europe, however, you should dress modestly if visiting a mosque or a religious shrine (long trousers or dress and women should wear a headscarf).  

You should ask permission before photographing people. 

Illegal drugs

Turkey has strict laws against the use, possession or trafficking of illegal drugs. If you are convicted of any of these offences, you can expect to receive a heavy fine and a prison sentence of up to 15 years. The Embassy maintains a list of English-speaking lawyers, but cannot get involved in legal cases.

Natural disasters and climate

Practical advice

  • If you’re travelling to Turkey, make sure you know what to expect – then plan and pack so that you’re prepared
  • Get local advice on how to manage in the case of a serious incident or dangerous conditions
  • Co-operate with local authorities and emergency services in the case of serious incidents 

Travel Advice Hot Cold Climates

Earthquake

Many parts of Turkey are located in seismically active zones, including Istanbul and coastal areas visited by Irish tourists.

An earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale hit Turkey's eastern Van region on 23 October 2011, killing more than 600 people.

If you’re travelling to or living in Turkey, make sure you know what to do in the event of an earthquake and always follow the advice of the local authorities.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Visas

All Irish citizens require a visa to enter Turkey.

In accordance with the new Turkish legislation, the practice of obtaining visas upon arrival to points of entry to Turkey will begin to come to an end as of 11 April 2014. Visitors therefore are strongly advised to obtain an electronic visa prior to departure. You can do so online at: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en

Please note Turkish border authorities will maintain existing procedures for a certain transitional period, to include the 2014 tourism season. Visitors arriving to Turkey without visas will be able to obtain their e-Visas via interactive kiosks placed in Turkish airports. Visitors should be aware that the cost is higher for a Kiosk visa and the process is time consuming on arrival. We therefore encourage all Irish passport holders travelling to Turkey to obtain their e visas in advance of travel.

All other travellers to Turkey should contact their nearest Turkish Embassy in advance of their visit to clarify their visa requirements. Contact details for the Turkish Embassy in Dublin are available at http://dublin.emb.mfa.gov.tr/ContactInfo.aspx

Six month passport validity is required from the date of entry to Turkey. Please check your passport in plenty of time before travel and if it needs to be renewed please see www.passport.ie

Tourist residence permit

However, if you want to stay longer in Turkey, as a tourist, you must apply for a tourist residence permit from the Foreigners Police Department in your local area of residence in Turkey. The new tourist residence permit may be granted for a maximum stay of six months. The maximum length of time you can stay in Turkey as a tourist is nine consecutive months.

Residence permit

If you want to study, work or stay beyond 90 days in Turkey you must apply for the appropriate visa and/or residence permit from the Turkish authorities. Residence permits for Irish citizens are free of charge, though you have to pay for the residence permit booklet. Applications and requests for further information should be directed towards the Foreigners’ Branch of your local police station or to the nearest Turkish Embassy or Consulate. Residence permits are not free of charge for all foreign nationals, so you may find that you have to insist that this is the case when you apply for a permit.

Overstaying your visa

Overstaying your visa can result in heavy fines and/or a ban on re-entering Turkey for up to five years, depending on the length of the overstay, and you’ll need to apply for a visa from the nearest Turkish Embassy or Consulate before returning to Turkey. Departing Turkey without paying the relevant fine will lead to an automatic five year ban on re-entry.

Visa requirements for Irish citizens are a matter for the Turkish immigration authorities and the Irish Embassy can’t intervene in individual cases relating to visas and overstays. 

Diplomatic or official passports

If you’re travelling to Turkey on a diplomatic or official passport, you must get a visa in advance from the Turkish Embassy in Dublin. This is a legal requirement that is strictly enforced and travellers will be refused entry to Turkey without the appropriate visa.

It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.

Health

If you need urgent health treatment during your stay, you should dial 112 to contact the emergency health services.

View a price list for health treatment in public hospitals for foreigners in Turkey.

Water

There have been water-quality issues in Turkey and visitors are advised to use bottled water whenever possible.

Buying property

If you’re intending to buy property in Turkey, we strongly advise you to consult an independent legal advisor from the beginning of the process. Procedures in relation to property purchases differ significantly from those in Ireland and investors are advised to research the matter thoroughly before entering into any agreement.

For general advice on property purchases in Turkey, check the Turkish Ministry for Foreign Affairs Guidance for Foreigners.