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Current

COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 continues to lead to restrictions in international air and travel traffic and impairment of public life.

Before unnecessary, tourist trips all over Turkey becomeswarned.

Epidemiological situation

Turkey is very badly affected by COVID-19. Nationwide, the number of new infections exceeds 200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days, which is why Turkey is classified as an area with a particularly high risk of infection (high incidence area). The Turkish Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide current and detailed figures.

entry

Turkey's air, land and sea borders are open, there are restrictions on entry by land from Iran, on leaving Greece, and on entering and leaving Georgia.

All air travelers over six years of age must complete an electronic form from the Turkish Ministry of Health within 72 hours prior to travel. This does not apply to transit passengers. The control takes place upon entry or at check-in. Afterwards, travelers are given an authorization code ("HES code"), which must be shown during controls in the country. The code can also be obtained in Turkey via SMS or an app.

In addition, travelers from the age of six must present a negative PCR test when arriving by air, land or sea, which must not be older than 72 hours at the time of departure when traveling by air. This does not apply to the transport sector (flight staff, truck drivers, seafarers) and to transit passengers. When traveling by air, the test must be presented at check-in.

For travelers who have stayed in India, Brazil or South Africa in the last ten days before entering the country, there is a 14-day quarantine obligation in a state institution.

When entering Turkey, temperature measurements are carried out and additional health examinations are carried out in the event of increased body temperature or other COVID-19 symptoms.

Turkey requires all travelers who are older than six years to submit a negative PCR test result when traveling to Germany. The PCR test must not be older than 48 hours upon departure. A control is carried out by the Turkish authorities. The travelers have to bear the costs themselves. Those who have tested positive must go to quarantine or medical treatment in Turkey. This mandatory test before leaving Turkey does not exempt you from the rules for entering Germany, such as quarantine obligations. The entry regulations of the federal government apply.

Transit and onward travel

Transit passengers do not have to carry the electronic entry form or a negative PCR test with them, seesee entry.

Land entry from Iran is closed to passenger traffic with the exception of Turkish nationals and persons with residence status in Turkey. Land exits to Greece are closed to passenger traffic, exceptions apply to Greek nationals and persons with residence status in Greece.

Entry and exit to Georgia is currently only possible for Georgian or Turkish citizens.

Transit flights to third countries without entering Turkey are possible without restrictions. The regulations for entry in the destination country must be observed. For transit flights from Turkish airports abroad, the "HES code" is required for transfer times longer than 24 hours for the domestic Turkish feeder flight (see entry).

Travel connections

The international air, bus and train traffic takes place with the exception of the countries Brazil and South Africa, ferry connections to Greece are currently closed. The “HES code” is required for Turkish nationals and foreigners, including tourists, for domestic flights, train and bus journeys and hotel accommodation. The respective transport companies or hotels provide information on this.

Restrictions in the country

A night curfew applies nationwide until June 1, 2021 on weekdays. On weekends, the curfew applies continuously from Friday, 9 p.m. to Monday, 5 a.m. Foreign tourists are generally exempt from curfew, local exceptions are possible. Violations of the prohibitions will be punished.

Travel between the provinces during curfew is possible by public transport, but prohibited by private transport. The use of local public transport is prohibited for people over 65 and under 18 years of age.

Catering establishments are closed with the exception of the pick-up and delivery services. Shops can also open on weekends between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to provide food and basic needs, bakeries are generally allowed to open. Shopping can then only be done on foot in the nearest store.

The responsible governor's offices can order additional measures.

The classification based on the infection rate is continuously checked and the measures are adapted.

Hygiene rules

The wearing of protective masks is mandatory in all public spaces, in supermarkets and on public transport. Social distance (three steps distance) is required.

  • Find out about the local COVID-19 regulations that apply in your current location.
  • When staying in Turkey, be sure to adhere to the applicable hygiene measures and be tested before you return home.
  • Find out more about the websites of the German representations in Turkey.
  • Make sure you comply with the AHA regulations and also follow the instructions from local authorities. Fines can be imposed for violations of the hygiene regulations.
  • Find out about detailed measures and additional information from the relevant governor's offices.
  • In the event of COVID-19 symptoms or contact with infected people, contact the governor's office of your whereabouts or the central emergency number 112.
  • Stays in foreign countries can currently affect the possibility of entering other countries. Therefore, find out about the current regulations on entry, transit and quarantine in the respective travel countries via the travel and safety information before starting any trip.
  • When returning to Germany, please note the valid entry restrictions such as registration, proof and, if applicable, quarantine regulations, inquire about the current conditions of carriage at the relevant company or your tour operator, and if you are entering from a risk area, contact the health department of your stay or Place of residence. Further information is available in our continuously updated info box on COVID-19 / Coronavirus.

Arrests and denied entry

German nationals are still arbitrarily arrested, given an exit ban or denied entry to Turkey. People who were able to enter and leave the country without problems in the past can also be arrested if they stay again. In many cases, these criminal prosecution measures were based on the suspicion of propaganda for or membership in an organization classified as terrorist, e.g. the PKK or Gülen movement (the latter is only classified as a terrorist organization in Turkey), see Legal specifics.

The European Court of Human Rights believes that terrorism, which is unlawfully broadly defined in Turkey, is sufficient for criminal prosecution, e.g. mere statements, shares or "likes" of posts in social media that are covered by the right to freedom of expression in Germany. Participation in demonstrations in Germany or membership in an association registered in Germany with reference to Kurdish issues, some years ago, can also be grounds for arrests, exit bans or entry refusals.

Arrests, criminal prosecutions or an exit ban were also often made in connection with statements critical of the government on social media, increasingly also on account of allegations of insulting the president. In the event of a conviction for “insulting the president” or “membership in or propaganda for a terrorist organization”, those affected risk a prison sentence of several years, in some cases life-long imprisonment. Also, exit bans can sometimes have existential consequences for people who live in Germany.

The above measures particularly, but not exclusively, affect German citizens with close private and personal ties to Turkey, as well as people who have both German and Turkish citizenship.

Journalists were also refused accreditation without giving reasons. Statements that are covered by freedom of expression according to German legal understanding can lead to measures restricting employment and criminal proceedings in Turkey.

  • Stay away from political events, rallies, and generally from large gatherings of people.
  • Be aware that statements critical of the government on social media, even if they were made a long time ago, but also sharing or "liking" someone else's post, can give rise to criminal action by the Turkish security authorities. Non-public comments may also have been passed on to Turkish law enforcement authorities through anonymous denunciation.
  • Follow the instructions of the local security forces and, if necessary, notify the responsible German diplomatic mission in Turkey.
  • Please note the information under Domestic situation and Criminal law.
  • Please also note the information below, especially with regard to refusals of entry Entry and customs on entry controls and rejections.

security

From travel
- to the border area of ​​Turkey with Syria and Iraq, in particular to Diyarbakır, Cizre, Silopi, Idil, Yüksekova and Nusaybin
as
- As a general rule to the provinces of Batman, Siirt, Mardin, Şırnak and Hakkâri
is strongly discouraged.

terrorism

There have been repeated terrorist attacks in Turkey, particularly since mid-2015.
It can by no means be ruled out that terrorist groups will continue to attempt to carry out attacks, especially in the large metropolises, against the background of Turkish military actions in Syria. These can also be directed against foreigners.
The former Istanbul Ataturk International Airport and repeatedly the inner cities of Istanbul and Ankara were targets of attacks with high casualties from the end of 2015 to the beginning of 2017.

The "Kurdish Workers' Party" (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization, and its splinter group "Freedom Falcons Kurdistan" have been carrying out repeated attacks since mid-2015, particularly in southeastern Turkey, but also in other parts of the country.

The security precautions are at a high level across the country, and an increased presence of the police and security authorities is evident in large cities in particular. In view of attacks by terrorist groups also against non-military targets, however, a terrorist threat must be assumed in all parts of Turkey.

Southeast and east / border areas with Syria and Iraq

In the border area of ​​Turkey with Syria and Iraq, especially in Diyarbakır, Cizre, Silopi, Idil, Yüksekova and Nusaybin as well as generally in the provinces of Mardin, Şırnak and Hakkâri, there are considerable dangers from adjacent conflicts.
There is an increased risk in Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır, Mardin, Batman, Bitlis, Bingöl, Siirt, Muş, Tunceli, Şırnak, Hakkâri and Van provinces.

In the areas mentioned, "temporary security zones" are set up and regional curfews are imposed. Security zones and curfews are strictly controlled, and entry into the security zones is strictly prohibited. So far, security zones and curfews have been set up in particular in the area southeast of Hakkâri along the border with Iraq, as well as in Diyarbakır and the surrounding area and southeast of the town of Cizre (border triangle Turkey, Syria and Iraq), but also in the provinces of Gaziantep, Kilis, Urfa, Hakkâri, Batman and Aǧrı.

For security reasons, the Turkish authorities no longer give permission to climb Mount Ararat.

  • Be especially vigilant in busy locations and on special occasions.
  • Avoid all non-essential trips to the border areas and provinces mentioned above.
  • Keep yourself informed about the security situation.
  • Avoid large gatherings of people in public places and in front of tourist attractions as well as staying near government and military facilities.
  • Please note the worldwide safety information.

Domestic situation

With the lifting of the state of emergency that had persisted since the attempted coup in July 2016, the associated restrictions and special regulations were partially converted into permanent law in July 2018.

It can also be assumed that there is an increased risk of arrest or the imposition of an exit ban, see the information under News and Criminal Law.

Protests and demonstrations can still occur, in which isolated violent clashes and traffic obstructions cannot be ruled out.

  • Find out about the local media.
  • Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings of people in large areas.
  • Follow the instructions of local security guards.

crime

So far, Turkey has stood out as a country with a comparatively low level of violent crime.

As in other large cities, beware of pickpockets in Istanbul. The victims are often distracted by begging children.
In the Beyoğlu district in particular, there was an increasing number of cases of fraud in which tourists were invited to a bar under a pretext and then forced to withdraw a large amount of cash from an ATM to settle the extremely high bill. Passport thefts also occur again and again.

In the past, German holidaymakers in Turkey have been victims of fraud after their return to Germany. With a wide variety of invented stories (e.g. lottery winnings, additional tax payments, impending financial disadvantages), vacationers are prompted to transfer money via Western Union to Turkey by telephone. These requests have no legal basis whatsoever.

  • Be especially careful when staying in lonely places and doing things together with little-known people.
  • Keep money, IDs, driver's license, air tickets and other important documents safe and make copies.
  • Prefer cashless payments and only take the cash you need for the day and no unnecessary valuables.
  • Be particularly vigilant in large crowds such as at airports, train stations, and on public transport, and watch out for your valuables.
  • Be skeptical of unfamiliar e-mails, notifications of prizes, invitations and requests for help from alleged acquaintances or calls from alleged police and judicial officers. Do not disclose any data about yourself; if necessary, make sure yourself personally or contact the police.

Nature and climate

A large part of Turkey lies in a seismically very active zone, so that there are many smaller, but also more severe earthquakes, as most recently in the summer of 2017 on the Turkish Aegean coast. If necessary, landslides, significant traffic disruption and long-lasting aftershocks can be expected.

The climate is Mediterranean on the south and west coast and continental in the Anatolian highlands.
Especially in the summer months, bush and forest fires can occur in Turkey due to the prevailing climatic conditions.
Heavy rainfall can cause flooding and landslides.
Impairment of the infrastructure must be expected in these cases.

  • Always observe prohibitions, signs and warnings as well as the instructions of local authorities.
  • Familiarize yourself with earthquake behaviors. These are provided by the fact sheets of the German Research Center for Geosciences.

Travel info

Infrastructure / traffic

Traffic routes may be impaired due to measures related to COVID-19 containment, see Current.

There is a good domestic flight network and good road connections within Turkey. The railway network, however, is not well developed.

The Turkish road traffic is usually very lively and dense, especially in the cities. The rules of the road traffic regulations are often not observed. Conflicts in traffic can provoke aggressive reactions from other drivers in the event of alleged or actual traffic violations.

The alcohol limit is 0.5, when driving with a trailer 0.0.
Car journeys after dark, even on larger connecting roads, are associated with increased dangers, especially with regard to the lack of lighting. Unsupervised parking spaces or campsites pose a risk to travelers.

In the jeep safaris offered, the technical condition of vehicles does not always meet the usual safety standards, and tour operators often do not accept any liability. Inexperienced drivers are often overwhelmed with these types of vehicles and driving on off-road routes.

In principle, the taximeter determines the price for taxi rides, but trading is allowed for longer rides. With a lot of luggage z. T. a surcharge is required. Especially in Istanbul, taxi rides can quickly and unintentionally turn into costly city tours. The hotels may be a reliable source of information for you about prices.
In Turkey there is only a handicapped accessible infrastructure in a few places. This also applies to public institutions. The sometimes poor condition of the sidewalks, even in large cities, can significantly limit the mobility of people with walking difficulties.

Excursions are often offered with a factory tour and buying opportunities. These promotional events often take a long time. Even when there is no need to buy, company employees and tour guides often put pressure on tourists to sell.

  • Drive carefully and defensively in traffic and do not get involved in arguments.
  • If possible, avoid driving out of town after dark.
  • If possible, only spend the night in guarded parking lots or campsites.
  • Check the technical condition of vehicles on jeep safaris. Only drive yourself if you have the appropriate experience.
  • Especially in Istanbul: Find out about the approximate fare before taking a taxi. If necessary, insist on switching on the taximeter.
  • Before going on an excursion with an opportunity to buy, inquire about the duration and protect yourself against pressure from "sellers". If necessary, complain to the tour operators.

Driver's license

The German driving license is sufficient for tourist stays.

Special instructions on behavior

Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country. Away from the tourist bathing beaches, it is advisable to adapt behavior and clothing to local customs. During Ramadan there are restrictions outside the tourist areas and eating, drinking and smoking may not be tolerated.

It is not permitted to take photographs of military and other security facilities as well as border installations and members of the security forces. Even in certain places such as cemeteries, religious sites or private properties, taking photos can lead to negative reactions from the population and the security forces.

The Turkish Regulatory Authority for Tobacco and Alcohol (TAPDK) draws attention to the danger of consuming adulterated alcohol and recommends purchasing alcohol to refer to the original packaging and licensing (TAPDKLogo on the bottle cap, undamaged, blue-turquoise band).

  • When traveling in the country, find out about the specifics of life in Turkey and prepare accordingly.
  • Be sure to wear appropriate clothing, especially when visiting religious sites.
  • Outside the tourist areas, be cautious about eating, drinking and smoking in public during Ramadan.
  • Be cautious about taking pictures and make sure or ask for permission if necessary.

LGBTIQ

Homosexuality is not a criminal offense in Turkey. Tens of thousands of people took part in the annual Pride Parade in Istanbul until 2014. However, since 2015 the parade has been banned by the Turkish authorities.
Attention is drawn to incidents of non-governmental violence in which LGBTI people have been attacked. One should therefore expect strong prejudices against this group of people in Turkish society.

Legal specifics

Since the beginning of 2017, an increasing number of German nationals have been arbitrarily arrested and / or have been banned from leaving the country.
In the case of arrests and emigration bans, Turkish law enforcement authorities invoke membership in or propaganda for organizations that are also classified as terrorist organizations in Germany or the EU (IS, PKK), but also membership in the so-called "Gülen movement", which is classified as a terrorist organization only in Turkey under the name "FETÖ". Even minor points of contact with these organizations or persons or companies associated with them, which the person concerned may not be aware of at all or which are only alleged by third parties, may be sufficient for an arrest, even if the contact points were years ago. To justify a suspicion of membership in a terrorist organization, it may be sufficient to be (or have been) entered in a German register of associations as a board member of an association with reference to Kurdish issues. According to statements made by the Turkish government on March 3, 2019, people who have participated in meetings of such organizations abroad are also at risk of arrest upon entering Turkey.
Furthermore, public statements against the Turkish state, expressions of sympathy with organizations classified as terrorist by Turkey and also insulting or denigrating state institutions and high-ranking personalities are prohibited and are punishable by fines or imprisonment. The accusation here is often of "terror propaganda" or the offense of insulting the president as provided for in Turkish criminal law. This criminal offense can also include statements critical of the government on the Internet and in social media, be it through sharing or "liking" someone else's post, see also information under News. Statements that are covered by freedom of expression according to the German legal understanding can also lead to criminal prosecution in Turkey and, in the case of journalists, for example, to occupational measures such as denial of accreditation. These measures are not in line with the relevant binding requirements of the OSCE. In this respect, it cannot be ruled out that the Turkish government will take further measures against representatives of the German media and civil society institutions.
Exit bans often lead to months or even several years of forced residency in Turkey with far-reaching, sometimes existence-threatening consequences for the professional, family and health situation of those affected.
It is forbidden to take photographs of military installations and members of the security forces or in military security zones.
In Turkey, drug offenses are particularly severely punished, 10 to 20 years in prison for importing drugs and six to 12 years for exporting drugs.
The acquisition, possession and export of “cultural and natural goods” are also punishable by imprisonment of up to ten years, as these are considered state property. In the event of violations, it is common practice for tourists to stay in custody for several months and to pay high bail payments, e.g. of 9,000 euros, even if they are antiques or old-looking objects of supposedly low value. In individual cases, prison sentences were imposed. It is therefore expressly warned against buying antiques, old coins, fossils etc. from dealers or taking them with you. The police and customs authorities interpret the term "antiques" broadly. Any processed stone can fall under it. Since it is practically impossible for travelers to see for themselves whether such an object is protected as an antique, travelers who do not have the appropriate authorization from the relevant Turkish authorities should generally not carry stones, coins, fossils and old-looking objects in their luggage to attempt. In principle, however, it is possible to obtain an export permit from the museums subordinate to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and from some customs offices.
The import of weapons and cutting tools, including camping knives, is prohibited without special permission.
As a general principle, what is also prohibited in Germany is punishable in Turkey.

  • If possible, inform the responsible German diplomatic mission abroad in the event of arrest or an exit ban.
  • Do not sign any document that you do not understand. Insist on legal assistance.
  • Always have an identification document with you.
  • Be as cooperative as possible during security checks.

Money / credit cards

The local currency is the Turkish Lira (TRY). With a German bank card, money can be withdrawn from many ATMs without any problems; however, the local banks now mostly charge a fee that is not reimbursed by German banks.
Credit cards are also accepted as a method of payment. Sometimes you also have to present your passport or identity card. If you enter your PIN, you can also withdraw money with your credit card from banks or from appropriately labeled machines.

Entry and customs

Entry and transit regulations may currently differ due to measures to contain COVID-19, see Current.

Entry and import regulations for German citizens can change at short notice without the Foreign Office being informed beforehand. You can only obtain legally binding information and / or information that goes beyond this information on the entry and customs regulations for importing goods directly from the representatives of your destination country.
You can find the customs regulations for Germany on the website of the German customs and via the “Customs and Travel” app or you can inquire about them by telephone.

Travel documents

Entry is possible for German citizens with the following documents:

  • Passport: Yes
  • Temporary passport: Yes
  • Identity card: Yes
  • Provisional identity card: Yes, must be valid
  • Children's passport: Yes

Comments / minimum remaining validity:
It is not possible to enter Turkey with a travel document issued by the Federal Police for emergencies as a passport replacement.

Turkey is a party to the European Convention on the Regulation of Passenger Traffic between the Member States of the Council of Europe of December 13, 1957.
Entry can also take place with a passport, temporary passport, identity card or children's passport if the document has expired no more than a year, but not with an expired temporary identity card. This applies to the following border crossings:
- at the Greek-Turkish border crossing
- at the border crossings in Istanbul, Izmir, Çanakkale, Muğla, Antalya, Mersin, Iskenderun and Aydın
- at the two airports IST (new airport) and SAW (Sabiha Gökcen) in Istanbul and at ESB airport in Ankara.

However, when leaving Turkey with expired ID documents, especially at the land borders in Edirne and Ipsala, and when continuing your journey, difficulties may arise, as not all transit countries recognize expired ID documents.

When entering the country with the provisional identity card, there have also been problems in the past, so that entry with it cannot be recommended any further.

When entering the country with a passport, this document must have at least one blank page.

  • Make sure you have valid identification documents before you travel to Turkey.

visa

German citizens do not need a visa to enter and stay for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days.

The previous practice of justifying a stay of 90 days after leaving the country for one day is no longer possible.
The exemption from the visa requirement in the above framework does not grant an absolute right of entry; German citizens can also be affected by entry bans.

Travel documents or travel documents issued by Germany for foreigners of other nationalities are recognized by Turkey. To enter Turkey, however, a visa is required without exception, which must be obtained in advance from a Turkish consulate general.

Entry controls and rejections