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Why Go To Turkey?

It's friendly, beautiful, culturally rich and good value for money. It's modern enough to be comfortable yet traditional enough to be interesting.

Turkey is one of the top 12 travel destinations in the world, welcoming more than 17 million visitors every year.

Is Turkey Safe?

For any foreign visitor—indeed, for anyone in Turkey—the risk of injury from a terrorist attack is very low. Almost vanishingly low.

The true dangers of travel, domestic or foreign, are such things as highway accidents, earthquake, lightning strike, hurricane, etc. You are more likely to be bitten by a shark while swimming or to be injured while skiing than you are to suffer from a terrorist incident.

Turkey received more than 20 million foreign visitors in 2005. Those injured in terrorist incidents may equal about 0.00005% of that number. Far more will be injured in freak accidents, or accidents while driving or riding—and this percentage, too, is still vanishingly small.

The fact that terrorist incidents garner worldwide headlines— which is exactly why terrorists commit them!—does not mean they are more dangerous than the garden variety dangers travelers face every day. A bus involved in a highway accident often suffers greater casualties than one attacked by terrorists.

Indeed, one could make the argument that one should avoid places that have not suffered from terrorism because they make more likely targets! And places that have had terrorist incidents are now more secure, more sensitive to the danger, and much better protected than places that have not had such incidents.

Here's the litmus test: ask yourself if you would visit any of these places: New York City, Washington DC, London, Madrid, Bali, Israel, Ireland, Egypt. All have suffered terrorist incidents far worse than any in Turkey. If you would go to any of those places, why not go to Turkey?

The Turkish authorities are experienced and effective in working to prevent incidents. No one can stop all the maniacs in the world, but the Turks do a very good job of stopping the ones that are stoppable.

Most visitors find that they have concerns about terrorism only before their trip, and after they arrive at their destination they experience the normal daily life of the place, and don't even think of terrorism at all—unless there's a headline.

Where to go?

ISTANBUL (Byzantium, Constantinople), the splendid imperial city

ÇANAKKALE, Gallipoli & Dardanelles Battlefields from ancient Troy to World War I

IZMIR & Aegean Coast Ephesus, Bodrum, beaches, history, seafood, figs, olives, classical ruins, sun, sand and sea

ANTALYA & Mediterranean Coast Popular seaside resorts since Cleopatra's time, from Marmaris to Antakya

ANKARA & Central Anatolia Turkey's modern capital, timeless history, and Konya, city of whirling dervishes

ÜRGÜP, Göreme & Cappadocia "Moonscape" terrain, cave churches and inns, and breathtaking hot-air balloon flights

When's The Best Time To Go?

Spring is best, autumn next, then summer, last winter.

SPRING

Spring (April through mid-June) is prime because the weather is moderate throughout the country, the days are long , and the tourist rush hasn't begun. April can be rainy , though.

AUTUMN

Autumn (mid-September through October) is second best with mostly mild weather , but the days are shorter , and rain may begin again in October.

SUMMER

Summer (mid-June through mid-September) is quite hot in five of Turkey's seven distinct climatic regions , though usually rainless, and cool inland in the evenings.

WINTER

Winter (November through March) is chill and rainy everywhere except the southeast , but with lower prices and fewer tourists

Distances & Travel Times

Ankara: 308 km (191 miles) N, 4-1/2 hours

Antalya: 615 km (382 miles) SW, 8-1/2 hours

Avanos: 13 km (8 miles) NW, 15 minutes

Göreme Open-Air Museum: 7 km (4.3 miles) W, 15 minutes

Göreme Town: 8 km (5 miles) W, 18 minutes

Istanbul: 725 km (451 miles) NW, 11 hours

Kayseri: 80 km (50 miles) E, 1-1/2 hours

Konya: 250 km (155 miles) W, 3 hours

Nevsehir: 23 km (14 miles) W, 25 minutes

Uçhisar: 10 km (6 miles) W, 20 minutes

Underground Cities: 20 km (12 miles) SW, 25 minutes to Kaymakli, 30 km (19 miles), 40 minutes to Derinkuyu

Climate

Central Anatolia The center of Turkey is high plateau (elevation 900m/3000 feet at Ankara) of rolling steppe framed by mountain ranges, some of which boast snow-capped dormant volcanoes. (It was the volcanic Mt Erciyes near Kayseri that formed the Central Anatolian moonscape of Cappadocia.)

The land produces summer and winter wheat and other crops, and feeds millions of grazing sheep. Temperatures range from -25C/-13F to 40C/104F, with rainfall of only 382 mm/15 inches per year. The average humidity is 62%.

Health

To stay healthy
while you travel in Turkey, don't overdo it. Eat and drink in moderation and get plenty of rest . If you're not feeling well, rest in your hotel room rather than pushing onward. (If you push onward and get sicker you'll have to rest even longer and you'll lose even more travel time.)
Sun & Heat

Use sunblock lotion regularly and wear a hat to avoid sunburn. Drink liquids regularly (at least every hour) in hot, dry weather--even if you don't feel thirsty--to avoid dehydration . Surprisingly, mild dehydration can bring on stomach upsets, dizziness and diarrhea which are often mistaken for food ailments. The cure is simple: remember to have a glass of water or a soft drink every hour!
Food

Consult your doctor concerning Travelers Diarrhea . Changes in food can disturb digestion, so go easy on the spicy food. Be careful not to overeat. In fact, you should "undereat," especially early in your trip. Once your digestive system becomes familiar with new intestinal flora, you can try new foods.
Drinks

Drink bottled spring water , available everywhere. Go easy on tea and coffee, which can contribute to dehydration and sleeplessness, and can aggravate digestive problems. If you use alcoholic beverages, do so sparingly, if at all. Alcohol increases the risk of dehydration and stomach upset.
Medical Care

All Turkish cities have hospitals, and towns have clinics, often with staff who speak at least some English. Besides government hospitals, has hospitals founded and supported by foreign communities: American, French, German, Italian.
Islam in Turkey

Islam in Turkey is moderate and adapted to modern life. Many Turks value the moral and spiritual bases of Islam, and revere it as a guide to right living and ethical conduct .

Most Turks are Sunni Muslims; that is, they are among the majority of Islamic believers. There are Shiite and Alevi minorities as well. About 20% of Turkish Muslims look upon themselves as Muslims first and citizens of the Turkish Republic second; the other 80% see themselves as citizens first, and count religion as second, third or fourth; some are secular, and pay little attention to religion at all.

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