On Wednesday, December 20, the Turkish authorities announced that New Year celebrations would not be allowed at Taksim Square, Istanbul, during in the night of December 31-January 1. According to the Istanbul police, celebrations have been banned due to security concerns. Police officials said that access to Taksim Square and Istiklal road will be restricted during the night and security measures will be significantly increased in the area.
In 2016, 39 people were killed in an Istanbul night club on New Year’s Eve. Abdulkadir Masharipov, the perpetrator of the attack, later confessed that he had originally planned to strike Taksim Square but had to change plans due to heightened security measures.
Although no major attack has been reported in Turkey since December 31, 2016, authorities warn that Turkey remains vulnerable to the threat of terrorist attacks.
Individuals in Istanbul are advised to remain vigilant, avoid main roads and squares overnight between December 31 and January 1, obey all instructions issued by the authorities, and report any suspicious objects or activities to the local authorities.
Due to the Turkish government's ongoing conflicts with the PKK as well as the Islamic State (IS), some Western governments advise against travel to areas along the Syrian and Iraqi borders, as well as nonessential travel to the provinces of Şırnak, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Mardin, Şanlıurfa, Kilis, Hatay, Siirt, Tunceli, and Hakkâri.
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