18th July 2016
Situation Summary: After the fail coup on Friday 15 July, recriminations and punishments continue to emerge. At least 6,000 people have been arrested including 29 top generals, a military advisor to the president, and leading judicial figures.
Turkey has also requested that Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who they accuse of orchestrating the putsch, is extradited from the United States. Currently, the US have refused this request citing a lack of evidence. Given the governments previous relationship with Gülen, there have been suggestions that this is a smear aimed at combating the influence of Gülen himself.
Eight Turkish soldiers involved in the coup also sought to escape punishment by claiming asylum in Greece. Unrest continues as pro-government protests take to the streets and low-level scuffles occur involving those accused of participating in the coup. This includes shots being fired outside a court in Ankara on 18 July and at Sabiha Gokcen Airport on 17 July.
Intrinsic Comment: Travellers to Turkey should expect increased security provisions, including on roads and at travel hubs, in the coming weeks. Travellers should also expect crackdowns on potential opponents, regardless of whether they were involved in the coup attempt. Further violence has also occurred and is likely to continue as arrests are made. Furthermore, it is expected that President Erdogan, already criticised for concentrating power in his hands, will seek to enhance his own position further.
Intrinsic Travel Advice: Travellers to Turkey should maintain a low profile. As always, large crowds and demonstrations should be avoided in case they turn violent or are targeted by extremist groups; Istanbul and Ankara are commonly targeted. Moreover, the western, and particularly US, reaction to the coup has not been well received by a large number of the Turkish populous, making westerners a potential target for popular Turkish aggression (as shown by protests at the US Consulate in Istanbul on 18 July). Despite the failure of the coup and the government reasserting full control, if possible, foreign travellers should temporarily postpone travel to Turkey.
For the time being, Intrinsic recommends that travellers increase their security provision when visiting Turkey. In order to safeguard against unexpected events, Intrinsic recommends that visitors employ a security driver and close protection agent and further security provisions when travelling to the east and southeast of Turkey.