Back

Country Reports

Turkey Country Report

Content provided by
IHS Markit Logo

Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan now rules based on Turkey's new constitution, passed in 2017, with diminished checks and balances over executive authority. Reduced foreign and economic policy predictability is likely, as manifested during the recent US-Turkey diplomatic stand-off and the associated collapse of the Turkish lira. The lira partially recovered following its drastic fall in mid-2018, climbing to TRY5.4:USD1.0 from a low point of TRY6.9:USD1.0, following a sharp interest rate hike and initial promises of fiscal reform. The lira remains vulnerable, however, particularly given upcoming local elections in March 2019, which risk lapses in the government's commitment to fiscal prudence, and renewed pressure from President Erdoğan on the central bank to lower interest rates. The current 24% benchmark interest rate hurts domestic demand, particularly gross fixed capital formation and household consumption. IHS Markit projects three consecutive quarters of GDP contraction (averaging -3.18%, on an annual basis) until growth recovers in third quarter 2019. Annual inflation will top 20% for several quarters. The weaker lira and soft domestic demand will reduce imports, while currency depreciation has boosted export competitiveness, although improvements are limited in many segments. Overall, in recent months, Turkey temporarily has removed its current-account deficit. However, we forecast that it will re-emerge in 2019, at levels below those in early 2018. Erdoğan's party, the ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi: AKP), now depends on his ultranationalist junior coalition partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi: MHP), for a parliamentary majority. This renders a ceasefire and renewed negotiations with the Kurdish separatist Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK) movement in southeast Turkey highly unlikely. Meanwhile, there remains elevated risk of high-casualty attacks by the Islamic State and PKK affiliates in major cities such Ankara and Istanbul, despite the last such successful attack having occurred in January 2017. © 2018, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Last update: December 28, 2018

Operational Outlook

An obstructive bureaucracy and commonplace corruption remain operational weaknesses, particularly for companies seeking either state tenders or business permits – both ministerial and municipal – without a political connection. Bureaucratic inefficiency was further exacerbated by the upheaval of Turkey's legal institutions after the 16 April 2017 constitutional referendum, adding to existing instability resulting from the government's extensive purges in late 2016. Although striking rights are constitutionally enshrined, labour strikes and work stoppages in practice remain uncommon in Turkey, given the domination of the labour market by "yellow" labour unions that enjoy close relations with the government, as well as the suppression of strike action through law enforcement.

Last update: February 22, 2019

Terrorism

High

Fighting between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê: PKK) and the government in the country's southeast has abated after reaching a peak in mid-2016. Likely targets for the PKK in the southeast are security forces assets and personnel, as well as pipelines and hydropower plants. Meanwhile, there remains an elevated risk of improvised explosive device (IED) and shooting attacks by PKK affiliates and Islamic State militants in major cities like Istanbul and Ankara. Both groups are likely to target the security forces, while the Islamic State is equally likely to target touristic locations, airports, and malls, although its intent will probably remain unmatched by its capacity.

Last update: November 24, 2018

War Risks

Turkey's military entrenchment in northern Syria is unlikely to give rise to reprisal attacks by the Syrian government, with Turkey's military intervention having taken place with consent from the Syrian government's patron, Russia. Although Turkey considers the territorial consolidation of the Syrian-Kurdish militia group YPG a major threat, a Turkish ground operation against YPG militants, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, remains unlikely so long as the YPG remains supported locally by US military personnel. An operation would become likely, however, if the US followed through with its stated intention of withdrawing military from Syria.

Last update: February 22, 2019

Social Stability

Elevated

The re-emergence of mass opposition protests in key cities such as Istanbul and Ankara is highly unlikely, with various previous political turning points, such as the contested constitutional referendum of 2017, having failed to trigger such a movement. Nonetheless, in the extreme event of an opposition protest movement emerging, there would probably be counter-protests by government supporters, resulting in localised violence, entailing collateral property damage risks, resulting from stone throwing and arson, and the erection of makeshift road barriers. Violent protests in Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast are unlikely in the one-year outlook, as evinced by the relative inaction of the Kurdish population since a spate of unrest in 2014.

Last update: March 26, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

Natural disasters also pose a potentially significant threat to visitors to the country. Turkey is situated in one of the most active seismic zones in the world; the north of the country often experiences violent earthquakes (e.g. the Izmit earthquake in the summer of 1999 that left 18,000 dead). The east is also affected; a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey on October 23, 2011, causing 500 deaths.

Turkey also occasionally experiences destructive torrential rains and consequent flooding and landslides. Heavy rain in Istanbul caused flash flooding and significant transportation disruptions on three separate occasions in summer 2017.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

The road network is of good quality in big cities and infrastructural improvement projects are underway. Road signs are posted in accordance with international protocol. However, traffic fatality rates are worryingly high in Turkey. Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way on Turkish roads and should exercise extreme caution when crossing the street; drivers are generally aggressive and frequently ignore traffic regulations. It is advised to avoid traveling at night on smaller roads outside cities.

It is recommended to use only official taxis equipped with a meter.

The rail network is reliable and connects the major main cities. High-speed rail lines (YHT), which are cheap and comfortable, run between Ankara-Konya and Eskisehir-Istanbul.

Many local airlines operate flights between major cities. Winter weather conditions can lead to severe delays and cancelations, especially in Istanbul at the Istanbul-Atatürk (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen airports.

Travelers should be aware that traffic restrictions may be enforced in districts neighboring Syria and Iraq as well as in the department of Agri, where access to Mounts Ararat and Tendürek requires prior government authorization.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Turkey's climate varies by region. The climate is Mediterranean in nature along the Aegean and Mediterranean seas; summers there are hot and winters are mild. The climate is continental inland with temperatures than can fall below 0°C in the winter and climb above 40°C in the summer (particularly in Anatolia). Along the coast of the Black Sea the climate is more temperate and wetter.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +90
Police: 155
Fire Dept.: 110
Ambulance: 112

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019