Turkey Country Report
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's long-standing ambition to establish an executive presidency was ratified in a constitutional referendum on 16 April 2017. Erdoğan will now have to prevail in the next presidential election to assume the new office, which is scheduled for 2019 but which is more likely to be called in 2018. He remains unlikely to de-escalate Turkey's fight against the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK), while a cross-border operation targeting PKK bases in Iraqi Kurdistan is likely to be launched ahead of the election. There is a continued elevated risk of high-casualty attacks by the Islamic State and PKK affiliates in Ankara and Istanbul.
Turkey's operational environment was greatly improved with the implementation of EU-aligned business laws during the early years of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi: AKP) tenure. However, an obstructive bureaucracy and commonplace corruption remain major operational weaknessesparticularly in the context of the upheaval of Turkey's legal institutions after the April 2017 constitutional referendum. Political connections are often a prerequisite for state tenders and business permits. Labour strikes and work stoppages remain uncommon in Turkey, with the labour market dominated by "yellow" labour unions that enjoy close relations with the government.
Improvised explosive device (IED) and shooting attacks by Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) affiliates and Islamic State militants are likely in Istanbul, Ankara, and other major cities in western Turkey. Both groups are likely to target the security forces, while the Islamic State is equally likely to target touristic locations, including airports, as well as locations and events linked with minority groups such as Kurds, secular Turks, and Alevis. Likely targets for the PKK in the southeast are security forces assets and personnel, as well as strategic assets such as pipelines and hydropower plants.
A second Turkish ground operation against Syrian-Kurdish militants, this time on the eastern flank of the Euphrates River, is highly unlikely, given the deterrent presence of US military personnel on the ground, providing training and advisory support for the Kurdish militants against the Islamic State. Turkey's military entrenchment since the completion of the first operation, dubbed Operation Euphrates Shield, is unlikely to give rise to reprisal attacks by the Syrian government, with the operation having been staged with consent from Syrian government's patron, Russia, in the first place. Turkish-Russian relations were normalised in July 2016.
The re-emergence of mass opposition protests, in key cities like Istanbul and Ankara, would only be likely in the extreme event of the detention of the main opposition party leader. The emergence of Islamist mobs during the anti-coup protests of July–August 2016 increases the risk of violent confrontations occurring between Islamists and government opponents, while equally raising the risk of Islamist attacks against Kurdish and Alevi assets, including stone throwing and arson. Kurdish protests in southeast Turkey would be probable as a reaction to a Turkish operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria, which remains unlikely in the one-year outlook.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz