In July I wrote, while pointing out the great award availability on Turkish Airlines using Star Alliance miles,
This is a difficult time for the Turkish people. Erdoğan is a strong man and a disaster who invoked Hitler to justify new powers he seeks in the aftermath of the coup attempt in his country.
He was aggregating power before the coup, restricting rights, but has since been rounding up thousands of citizens and restricting freedoms even more. Of course a successful coup could well have led to limitations on freedom for the Turkish people as well. There was likely no good outcome.
While I’m not inclined to make discretionary trips to Turkey now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the huge opportunities for transiting the airport enroute to the many destinations that you can conveniently reach via Istanbul in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
I think Turkish Airlines is a very good airline overall. They have a great lounge in Istanbul. There’s billiards, golf, a race track, and a movie room with popcorn machine. They even provide complimentary hotel stays to economy passengers forced to overnight in Istanbul by the Turkish schedule.
There was an attack on the Istanbul airport this summer. Of course that was outside security, the airport’s security protocols are quite good and passengers who are airside may be as safe as anywhere.
The security situation in Istanbul appears to have degraded in the post-coup environment. And purges continue and may even have accelerated. If even a quarter of the people being purged by the government had actually participated in the coup, it would have succeeded easily.
Since I’ve felt it safe to travel on Turkish Airlines, I thought it was also important to share concerns about actually spending time in Turkey right now as an American. The US has ordered families of consulate workers there to leave (HT: Paul H.)
The State Department is ordering family members of employees posted to the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul to leave because of security concerns…indicating extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to attack U.S. citizens in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent.
The Consulate General remains open and fully staffed. The order applies only to the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, not to other U.S. diplomatic posts in Turkey.
The travel warning issued Saturday updates a warning last week of increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey. U.S. citizens were advised to avoid travel to southeast Turkey and carefully consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country.
I’ve been a proponent of visiting Paris in the immediate aftermath of terrorist attacks and indeed many places where people have safety concerns. I’ve argued that the day after an attack is likely safer than the day before. But I didn’t suggest discretionary trips to Turkey in July, and I am even less comfortable with the idea now.