This has been a tough summer where watching or reading the news might make you want to stay indoors for a bit. While terrorists attacks give some pause to rethink their travel plans, a military coup and political upheaval is another realm of uncertainty. There’s no set of guidelines if you’re caught in the middle of one. My rule of thumb to find a bar, order some drinks and wait it out doesn’t hold up with coups.
With the failed coup in Istanbul and Ankara, the U.S., Canada, Australia and United Kingdom are some of the countries urging travelers to stay away for the time being.
The U.S. State Department updated their travel warning for the region saying, “In light of the July 15 coup attempt and its aftermath, we suggest U.S. citizens reconsider travel to Turkey at this time.”
Canadians, as many foreign governments have done, urged citizens in Turkey to shelter in place and contact their consulate in Istanbul. Most flights were diverted Friday and Saturday away from Ataturk Airport.
Australia had this to say to their travelers: “We continue to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Turkey overall and to reconsider their need to travel to Istanbul and Ankara … Higher levels apply in some parts of Turkey.”
British Airways suspended all flights on Saturday. On Sunday when flights started up, they expected prolonged delays. This begs the question, who would still want to go to Turkey shortly after a major political event where hundreds died, thousands were arrested and most businesses decided to close? They must really want to see the Blue Mosque.
If I were to rank the reasons not to travel to a certain country, political coup would be second.
- Act of God (Earthquake, Hurricane, Typhoon)
- Political Coup
- Economic Crisis (i.e. Venezuela)
- Major Pandemic of Infectious Disease
- Soccer Riots
- Terrorist attacks
That last point, you can read the statistics over and over, but you being the victim of a terrorist attack are minuscule. Then again, having your head of a swivel every time you step outside on your travels is not a great way to enjoy your stay. As I’ve said before, if you decide to not travel to France, Turkey, the U.S., Beirut, etc., nobody will think less of you.
As for Istanbul or Cappadocia, have a wait and see attitude if you are planning to go in the fall, which is a way better time to go than the summer. The summers can be brutal temperature wise. That was my attitude in 2013 during the protests in Taksim Square. By the time I got there in October, all was well, even though I saw a few tanks in the streets juuuuuuust in case something were to go down.