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Turkey Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Nov 21, 2003

This Travel Warning is being issued to alert U.S. citizens to security concerns in Turkey. In light of the recent terrorist bombings, the Department of State recommends U.S citizens defer non-essential travel to Turkey. The Embassy in Ankara and Consulates in Istanbul, Adana, and Izmir remain open to provide services to American citizens.

The potential for violence and terrorist actions against U.S. citizens and interests continues. On November 15, two synagogues in Istanbul were the targets of suicide car bombs. On November 20, the British Consulate General and the London-based HSBC bank in Istanbul were damaged by powerful explosions, killing dozens and wounding hundreds. These incidents represent a significant change from prior attacks in Turkey, which have previously involved small-scale, random bombings and small numbers of casualties. The investigations of the recent incidents in Istanbul remain in their initial stages and it is currently unclear which group is responsible for these actions.

Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, hijackings, bombings, or kidnappings. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Increased security at official U.S. facilities has led terrorists and their sympathizers to seek softer targets such as public transportation, residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, hotels, schools, outdoor recreation events, resorts and beaches. U.S. citizens should remain in a heightened state of personal security awareness when attendance at such locations is unavoidable.

All American citizens are urged to continue to exercise extreme caution and to maintain a low profile throughout Turkey. We reiterate Department of State advice to American citizens to take prudent steps to ensure their personal safety. Remain vigilantly aware of surroundings, listen to news reports, avoid crowds and demonstrations, keep a low profile, and vary times and routes for all travel. We will continue to review the security situation and adjust the travel warning accordingly.

We also note that a Worldwide Caution for American citizens remains in effect. Recent bombings underscore the Department of State's continuing concern over the increasing focus by terrorists on "soft" targets overseas.

As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. In addition to information on the Internet, U.S. travelers can get up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. and outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara is located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, tel: (90)(312) 455-5555, fax (90)(312) 466-5684. Additional information may be found on the Embassy website at ankara.usembassy.gov. The Embassy maintains an English language hotline providing information on current travel conditions in Turkey at (90)(312) 455-5555 ext. 5009.

The U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey, is located at Kaplicalar Mevkii Sokak, No. 2, Istinye 34460. The telephone number is (90)(212) 335-9000, fax (90)(212) 335-9102. Additional information may be found on the consulate website at istanbul.usconsulate.gov or usconsulate-istanbul.org.tr.

The U.S. Consulate in Adana is at the corner of Vali Yolu and Ataturk Caddesi, tel: (90)(322) 459-1551, fax (90)(322) 457-6591.

The U.S. Consulate in Izmir can be reached at (90)(232) 464-8755.

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