ASSESSMENT TURKEY by chenboying

VIEWS: 52 PAGES: 16

									COUNTRYBRIEF, LLC
Country-specific data for the informed traveler

ASSESSMENT: TURKEY

OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Turkey Geography Cities: Capital--Ankara (pop. 4.0 million). Other cities--Istanbul (8.8 million), Izmir (2.3 million), Bursa (2.1 million), Adana (1.8 million). Terrain: Narrow coastal plain surrounds Anatolia, an inland plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward. Turkey includes one of the more earthquake-prone areas of the world. Climate: Moderate in coastal areas, harsher temperatures inland. Government Type: Republic. Independence: October 29, 1923. National holiday: Republic Day, October 29. People Nationality: Noun--Turk(s). Adjective--Turkish. Population (2003): 68.1 million. Ethnic groups: Turkish, Kurdish, other. Religions: Muslim 99%, Christian, Bahai and Jewish. Languages: Turkish (official), Kurdish, Zaza, Arabic, Armenian, Greek.

Modern Turkey spans bustling cosmopolitan centers, pastoral farming villages, barren wastelands, peaceful Aegean coastlines, and steep mountain regions. More than half of Turkey's population lives in urban areas that juxtapose Western lifestyles with traditionalstyle mosques and markets. Turkey has been officially secular since 1924, although 99% of the population is Muslim. Most Turkish Muslims belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, but a significant number are Alevi Muslims. Questions of the goals of political Islam and the aftermath of the 1984-99 PKK Kurdish insurgency continue to fuel public debate on several aspects of Turkish society, including the role of religion, the necessity for human rights protections, and the

www.CountryBrief.com

expectation of security. Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin constitute an ethnic and linguistic group. Estimates of their population range up to 12 million. HISTORY Mustafa Kemal, celebrated by the Turkish State as a Turkish World War I hero and later known as "Ataturk" or "father of the Turks," led the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 after the collapse of the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire and a three-year war of independence. The empire, which at its peak controlled vast stretches of northern Africa, southeastern Europe, and western Asia, had failed to keep pace with European social and technological developments. The rise of national consciousness impelled several captive nations to seek to regain lost independence, leading to the empire's fragmentation. This process culminated in the disastrous Ottoman participation in World War I as a German ally. Defeated, shorn of much of its former territory, and partly occupied by forces of the victorious European states, the Ottoman structure was repudiated by Turkish nationalists whom Mustafa Kemal brought together under his tight leadership. The nationalists expelled invading Greek forces from Anatolia after a bitter war. After the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey the temporal and religious ruling institutions of the old empire (the sultanate and caliphate) were abolished. Turkey did not enter World War II on the Allied side until shortly before the war ended and became a charter member of the United Nations. Difficulties faced by Greece after World War II in quelling a communist rebellion and demands by the Soviet Union for military bases in the Turkish Straits prompted the United States to declare the Truman Doctrine in 1947. The doctrine enunciated American intentions to guarantee the security of Turkey and Greece and resulted in large scale U.S. military and economic aid. After participating with United Nations forces in the Korean conflict, Turkey in 1952 joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Turkey is currently a European Union candidate. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS The 1982 Constitution proclaims Turkey’s system of government as democratic, secular, and parliamentary. The presidency’s powers are not precisely defined, and the president’s influence depends on his personality and political weight. The president and the Council of Ministers led by the prime minister share executive powers. The president, who has broad powers of appointment and supervision, is chosen by Parliament for a term of 7 years and cannot be reelected. The prime minister administers the government. The prime minister and the Council of Ministers are responsible to Parliament. Principal Government Officials President of the Republic--Ahmet Necdet Sezer Prime Minister--Recep Tayip Erdogan Minister of Foreign Affairs--Abdullah Gul Ambassador to the United States--Faruk Logoglu Ambassador to the United Nations--Umit Pamir

www.CountryBrief.com

Turkey maintains an embassy in the United States at 2525 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 612-6700. Consulates general in Chicago (360 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1405, Chicago, IL 60601, tel: 312-263-0644, ext. 28); Los Angeles (4801 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 310, Los Angeles, CA 90010, tel: 323-937-0118); New York (821 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, tel: 212-949-0160); and Houston (1990 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 1300, Houston, TX 77056, tel: 713-622-5849). The Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations is located on 821 United Nations Plaza, 10th floor, New York, NY 10017, tel: 212-949-0150. FOREIGN RELATIONS Turkey's primary political, economic, and security ties are with the West, although some voices call for a more "Eurasian" orientation. Turkey entered NATO in 1952 and serves as the organization's vital eastern anchor, controlling the straits leading from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and sharing a border with Syria, Iraq, and Iran. A NATO headquarters is located in Izmir. Besides its relationships with NATO and the EU, Turkey is a member of the OECD, the Council of Europe, and OSCE. Turkey also is a member of the UN and the Islamic Conference Organization (OIC). In December 1999, Turkey became a candidate for EU membership. On December 17, 2004, the EU decided to begin formal accession negotiations with Turkey in October 2005. The EU and Turkey began the accession talks on October 3, 2005, opening the way for what both sides expect will be a long, complex, open-ended process. Turkey and the EU formed a customs union beginning January 1, 1996. The agreement covers industrial and processed agricultural goods. Turkey is harmonizing its laws and regulations with EU standards. Turkey adopted the EU's Common External Tariff regime, effectively lowering Turkey's tariffs for third countries, including the United States. Turkey is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It has signed free trade agreements with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Israel, and many other countries. In 1992 Turkey and 10 other regional nations formed the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Council to expand regional trade and economic cooperation. U.S.-TURKEY RELATIONS U.S.-Turkish friendship dates to the late 18th century and was officially sealed by a treaty in 1830. The present close relationship began with the agreement of July 12, 1947, which implemented the Truman Doctrine. As part of the cooperative effort to further Turkish economic and military self-reliance, the United States has loaned and granted Turkey more than $12.5 billion in economic aid and more than $14 billion in military assistance. Principal U.S. Officials Ambassador--Ross Wilson Deputy Chief of Mission--Nancy McEldowney

www.CountryBrief.com

The U.S. Embassy is located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, Kavaklidere, Ankara 06100, tel: (90) (312) 455-5555. Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225. For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-4000. U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous areas are encouraged to register their travel via the State Department’s travel registration web site at https://travelregistration.state.gov or at the Consular section of the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a country by filling out a short form and sending in a copy of their passports. This may help family members contact you in case of an emergency.

INTELLIGENCE CONCERNS: All nations have some type of intelligence collection service (comparable to the U.S.’s CIA). While visiting another nation, obey their laws and do not engage in any activity that could be used against you. Travelers, particularly government employees or those who have access to sensitive information, have been blackmailed by foreign governments hoping to force them to reveal desirable information. Some nations may even try to entrap you in an undesirable situation. Other nations regularly place technical surveillance (bugs) in the hotel rooms of all foreigners. Be aware of these possibilities; never discuss sensitive information unless you are in a secure facility, and be sure not to place yourself in a compromising position.

CONSULAR INFORMATION SHEET - CUSTOMS Customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export of items such as firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications, business equipment and other items. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of your destination country in Washington or one of that country’s consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required. Currently, holders of all types of passports can purchase a 90-day sticker visa at the port of entry for $20 cash if they are traveling to Turkey as tourists. For further information, travelers in the U.S. may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey at 2525 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone: (202) 612-6700, or the Turkish consulates general in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, or New York. Information may

www.CountryBrief.com

also be found at Internet address http://www.turkey.org/. Overseas, travelers may contact a Turkish embassy or consulate. Holders of official and diplomatic passports on official business must obtain a visa from a Turkish embassy or consulate before arrival in Turkey. All travelers planning to stay more than three months for any purpose are required to obtain a visa from a Turkish embassy or consulate. Such travelers must also apply for a residence/work permit or Turkish ID card within the first month of their arrival in Turkey. This includes anyone who plans to spend more than three months doing research, studying, or working in Turkey. All travelers are advised to obtain entry stamps on the passport page containing their visa at the first port of entry before transferring to domestic flights. Failure to obtain entry stamps at the port of entry has occasionally resulted in serious difficulties for travelers when they attempt to depart the country. In addition, all travelers are photographed upon entry at the airport in Istanbul. Crossing the border with Iraq can be time-consuming, as the Turkish Government tightly controls entry and exit. All travelers wishing to cross into Iraq from Turkey must still have a valid travel document, such as a passport, to enter Iraq from Turkey. Travelers wishing to enter Turkey from Iraq must have both a valid travel document and current Turkish visa. Visit www.turkishembassy.org for the most current visa information. SAFETY AND SECURITY: Terrorist bombings -- some with significant numbers of casualties -- over the past four years have struck religious, political, tourist and business targets in a variety of locations in Turkey. The possibility of terrorist attacks, both transnational and indigenous, remains high. Indigenous terrorist groups continue to target Turkish as well as U.S. and Western interests. In June 2004, the indigenous terrorist group PKK/KADEK/Kongra Gel announced an end to their “unilateral ceasefire” and resumed violent activities. Two of the most significant incidents occurred in July 2005 in the town of Kusadasi, where bombs killed an Irish tourist and a British tourist. In recent months, incidents have also occurred in the popular coastal tourist destinations of Cesme, Bodrum, Antalya, and Mersin. Bombings have also taken place in Istanbul, injuring a Dutch citizen and several Turkish citizens. A Kurdish group ostensibly aligned with PKK terrorists has claimed responsibility for a number of recent the recent bombings in tourist areas in the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal resort areas and in Istanbul. This group has also warned tourists to stay away. Consistent with the threats, further attacks by this group could take place in Turkey without warning. There have been numerous attacks in recent months in the southeast region of Turkey, where the PKK/KADEK/Kongra Gel has traditionally concentrated its activities. Please see the section on Southeast Turkey for additional information.

www.CountryBrief.com

In addition to the actions of the Kurdish groups, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) has assassinated Americans in the past and continues to be active in Turkey. Groups such as the DHKP/C, PKK/KADEK/Kongra Gel, IDBA-C, and others continue to target Turkish officials and various civilian facilities and may use terrorist activity to make political statements. In November 2003 al-Qaida affiliated terrorists were responsible for four large suicide bombings in Istanbul that targeted Western interests. The British Consulate, HSBC Bank, and two synagogues were targeted by massive suicide truck bombs that killed dozens of people and wounded hundreds. These incidents represent a significant change from prior attacks in Turkey and show an increasing willingness on the part of the terrorists to attack Western targets. In August 2005 Turkish police discovered what appears to have been a planned terrorist attack by a transnational group targeting maritime interests in Turkey. Americans should exercise caution and good judgment, keep a low profile, and remain vigilant with regard to their personal security. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. As security is increased at official U.S. facilities, terrorists will seek softer targets. These may include facilities where Americans and Westerners are known to live, congregate, shop, or visit, especially hotels, clubs, restaurants, shopping centers, housing compounds, transportation systems, places of worship, schools, or outdoor recreation events or resorts and beaches. U.S. citizens should remain in a heightened state of personal security awareness when attendance at such locations is unavoidable. International and domestic political issues sometimes trigger demonstrations in most major cities in Turkey. We wish to remind American citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. Up-to-date State Department information on safety and security can be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Southeast Turkey: The PKK/KADEK/Kongra-Gel terrorist group retains a presence in certain parts of southeastern Turkey. Although the official “State of Emergency” designation has been removed for all provinces of the southeast and no provinces are currently officially designated as sensitive areas, PKK/KADEK/Kongra-Gel activity continues to increase in much of the region. Travel is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous. Americans traveling in southeastern Turkey should exercise caution due to PKK/KADEK/Kongra-Gel violence. Roadside explosions caused by remote controlled land mines or other improvised explosive devices in Batman, Sirnak, Hakkari, Siirt Mardin, Diyarbakir and Tunceli provinces occur regularly. There have also been a number of PKK/KADEK/Kongra-Gel raids on Jandarma posts and ambushes of Turkish security force vehicle patrols in rural

www.CountryBrief.com

areas in many southeastern Turkey provinces. Recently, two trains were attacked and the PKK/Kadek/Kongra-Gel kidnapped two Turkish government employees in the region. Sound bombs are a frequent event throughout the region. Please be advised of these travel risk factors. Visitors to southeastern Turkey are advised to travel only during daylight hours and on major highways. The Turkish Jandarma and police forces monitor checkpoints on roads throughout the southeastern region. Travelers should be cooperative if stopped at any checkpoint. Drivers and all passengers in the vehicle should be prepared to provide their identification cards or passports, driver license and vehicle registration if stopped at a checkpoint. At these check points, roll down the driver's side window (passenger side, also, in vehicles with tinted windows) when stopped by security force officials. Security forces can then safely inspect the vehicle and its occupants. Remain calm, do not make sudden movements and obey all instructions immediately. Security officials may restrict access to some roads at times, and security force escort vehicles may be required to “convoy” visitors through troublesome areas. In some cases, this must be arranged in advance. Travelers are cautioned not to accept letters, parcels, or other items from strangers for delivery either in or outside of Turkey. PKK/KADEK/Kongra-Gel has attempted to use foreigners to deliver messages and packages in or outside of Turkey. If discovered, individuals could be arrested for aiding and abetting the PKK/KADEK/Kongra-Gel – a serious charge. Department of State personnel are subject to travel restrictions in Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, and Elazig provinces. U.S. military and DOD civilians should consult their local area commander regarding any restrictions in effect for southeastern Turkey. Mount Ararat, in Agri province, is a special military zone and access permission must be obtained from the Turkish government through Turkish Embassies or Consulates before coming to Turkey. CRIME: Street crime is relatively low in Turkey, although it has increased dramatically in large urban centers such as Istanbul and Izmir. In Istanbul, street crime is most common in the Taksim Square area, in Sultanahmet and in the areas around the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar. Visitors are often robbed while distracted by a staged fight or altercation. Women appear to have been targeted for muggings or robberies. It is strongly recommended that you leave your U.S. passport in the hotel safe, as a lost or stolen passport can disrupt your travel plans and be expensive to replace. As in other large metropolitan areas throughout the world, common street crimes include pick pocketing, purse snatching, and mugging. English-or French-speaking foreigners have befriended the tourists and then drugged them, using tea, juice, alcohol, or food. Two common drugs used are Nembutal and benzodiazepine which, when used incorrectly, can cause death. In other cases, tourists are invited to visit clubs or bars, and then presented with inflated bills (often exceeding $1000), and coerced to pay them by credit card. Residential crime appears to be on the increase in major cities, with

www.CountryBrief.com

criminals targeting ground floor apartments for theft. Visitors should not be complacent regarding personal safety or the protection of valuables. The same precautions employed in the U.S. should be followed in Turkey. INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Turkish hospitals vary greatly. The new, private hospitals in Ankara and Istanbul have modern facilities and equipment, and numerous U.S.-trained specialists, but still may be unable to treat certain serious conditions. The State Department recommends medical evacuation for its personnel who will be giving birth. Those planning to remain in Turkey should consider bringing a six-month supply of necessary chronic medications (e.g., heart medications, birth control pills). Nursing care and diagnostic testing (including mammograms) are not up to American standards. Health care standards are lower in small cities in Turkey in comparison to bigger cities such as Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Adana. The US State Department advises travelers to drink only bottled water or water that has been filtered and boiled. Bottled beverages are considered safe to drink. Most local dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cheese, are safe to consume. However, care must be taken when purchasing all perishable products, as many vendors do not have adequate refrigeration. Travelers are advised to wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly and to cook meat thoroughly as well. See further information below. Avian Influenza: The WHO and Turkish authorities have confirmed human cases of the H5NI strain of avian influenza, commonly known as the "bird flu." Travelers to Turkey and other countries affected by the virus are cautioned to avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. In addition, the CDC and WHO recommend eating only fully cooked poultry and eggs. Further information is attached. MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical emergency. For medical evacuation coverage, you may wish to visit www.internationalsos.com. TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from

www.CountryBrief.com

those in the United States. The information below concerning Turkey is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance. See further information below. Drivers should drive defensively at all times and take every precaution while driving in Turkey. Drivers routinely ignore traffic regulations including driving through red lights and stop signs and turning left from the far right hand lane. These driving practices cause frequent traffic accidents. Statistics released by the Turkish State Statistics Institute indicate that daytime hours are the most dangerous times on local highways. In 2002 there were 407,103 accidents total in a country of around 68 million people. Also in 2002, 36,665 bus accidents were reported among the 120,000 registered buses in Turkey. Drivers should be aware of several driving practices that are prevalent in Turkey. Normally drivers who experience car troubles or accidents pull over by the side of the road and turn on their emergency lights to warn other drivers, but many drivers place a large rock or a pile of rocks on the road about 10-15 meters behind their vehicles instead of turning on their emergency lights. Drivers should exercise extreme caution while driving at night. The US State Department recommends that you not drive after dark outside of major cities. Some vehicles drive without their lights on or with very low lights, making it impossible to see them in advance. While driving, it is also not unusual to come across dead animals, rocks, or objects that have fallen from trucks such as fruits and vegetables.

Roads in Turkey run the full spectrum from single lane country roads to modern, divided, Trans-European motorways built to European standards. Highways in the southwestern, coastal portion of the country, which is frequented by tourists, are generally in good condition and well maintained. Those who wish to enter the country with their vans, minibuses, automobiles, station wagons, bicycles, motorcycles, motorbikes, sidecars, buses, motor coaches, trailers, caravans or other transport vehicles, will have to provide the following documentation: passport, international driving license, car license (note: if the vehicle belongs to another individual, a power of attorney is needed), international green card (insurance card) with the “valid in Turkey” sign visible, and a transit book "carnet de passage" (for those who want to proceed to the Middle East). The vehicle can be brought into Turkey for up to 6 months. If an extension is needed, apply to the Turkish Touring and Automobile Club (Turkiye Turing ve Otomobil Kurumu 1.Oto Sanayi Sitesi Yani, 4.Levent, Istanbul, Tel : (212) 282 81 40 or Fax : (212) 282 80 42), or to the General Directorate of Customs (Gumrukler Genel Md.lugu Ulus Ankara Tel : (312) 310 38 80, 310 38 18, Fax : (312) 311 13 46) before the end of the period declared. Train Travel: There have recently been several train accidents on the popular Ankara-Istanbul Train route. These accidents have led to loss of life and injury. In 2003 there were 556 accidents (collisions, derailments, falling from train) resulting in 162 fatalities and 299 injuries on trains throughout Turkey. Previous years statistics reflect the same pattern. Two large accidents in 2004 on the

www.CountryBrief.com

Ankara-Istanbul line resulted in 45 fatalities. Visit the website of Turkey’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety and information concerning Turkish driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance at http://www.turkey.org/. The cardinal rules of safety to survive Turkish driving are: drive very defensively, avoid driving at night, and never let emotions affect what you do. For specific information on Turkish traffic laws and driving recommendations, see www.asirt.org or www.state.gov. In the highly congested city of Istanbul, a high percentage of traffic-related deaths are pedestrians. The highest risk group for pedestrians is children and adolescentstotaling about 40 percent. Statistics released by the Istanbul Traffic Police, for example, indicate that evening rush hour (5-8 p.m.) is the most dangerous time on local highways. The US State Department makes the following recommendation: Watch for temporary checkpoints and traffic stops particularly at night. These are usually set up for one of three reasons: (1) routine license and registration checks, (2) during times of high terrorist threat, to watch for certain individuals, (3) DWI checks, which are normally done late at night and on weekends in areas with restaurants and clubs. Often, vehicles with diplomatic, consular or Turkish General Staff (TGS) license plates will be waved through once the police see that a foreigner is driving. In case you are stopped, be prepared to show your Turkish identification card or passport and U.S. driver's license and vehicle registration. (Note - If you are involved in an accident - even when not

found at fault - a Breathalyzer or blood test is almost always mandatory. If you are not considered responsible for the accident, positive test results will not be used against you by the police. However, they may be used by an insurance company as grounds to deny an accident claim.) The unofficial "protocol" for military and Jandarma checkpoints in the eastern provinces is to turn on the vehicle's inside lights and dim the headlights while stopping for inspection. Roll down the driver's side window in vehicles with tinted glass. This makes it easier for soldiers to safely identify and check the vehicle and its occupants. During this type of inspection, remain calm, do not make any quick movements and obey instructions. You should always have your vehicle registration, insurance policy, and driver's license (or copies) in your car. If there is an accident, you will need all three. Increased Driver Awareness during Ramadan During Ramadan, many people fast between the hours of sunrise and sunset. The fast includes not taking food, water, tea/coffee, and no smoking. This temporary lack of food and stimulants while fasting during Ramadan has in the past had a deleterious effect on levels of alertness, particularly for persons driving trucks, buses, taxis and cars. Consequently, it is important for all employees and family members to be particularly aware of this potential danger and alert to other drivers. Practice defensive driving, particularly during this month of the year. The holidays or "Bayrams" that follow Ramadan result in a dramatic increase in intercity vacation traffic and the highest accident rates of the year.

www.CountryBrief.com

Here's a taxi safety tip: Always ride in the rear of a taxi, never in the front. In the event of an accident, the risk of serious injury is generally reduced by more than 50%.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Turkey as being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Turkey’s air carrier operations.

. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Turkish customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Turkey of items such as antiquities (very broadly defined) or other important artwork and cultural artifacts. At the time of departure, travelers who purchase such items may be asked to present a receipt from the seller, as well as the official museum export certificate required by law. Contact the Embassy of Turkey in Washington or one of Turkey's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. In addition to being subject to all Turkish laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Turkish citizens. Male U.S. citizens over the age of 18 who are also considered to be Turkish citizens may be subject to conscription and compulsory military service upon arrival, and to other aspects of Turkish law while in Turkey. Those who may be affected are strongly advised to consult with Turkish officials and inquire at a Turkish embassy or consulate to determine their status before traveling. The Government of Turkey will not permit American officials to visit or provide consular assistance to Turkish/American dual nationals arrested in Turkey. For additional information on dual nationality, see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/ for their Dual Nationality flyer. CURRENCY: On January 1, 2005 six zeroes were dropped from the Turkish Lira. One million Turkish Lira is now equal to 1 New Turkish Lira. Both old and new banknotes and coins were in circulation until the end of 2005. You may wish to visit http://www.xe.com for current exchange rates. DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Turkey is a seismically active country and earthquakes occur throughout Turkey. A major earthquake along the North Anatolian fault line in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in the Izmit area (about 1 hour's travel east of Istanbul). American citizens should make contingency plans and leave emergency contact information with family members outside of Turkey. CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.

www.CountryBrief.com

Persons violating Turkish laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Turkey are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Below are some of the laws foreign travelers should be aware of: Insulting the State: It is illegal to show disrespect to the name or image of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, or to insult the Turkish government, flag, or security forces. Proselytizing: Although there is no specific law against proselytizing, some activities can lead to arrest under laws that regulate expression, educational institutions, and religious meetings. Cultural Artifacts: Turkish law has a broad definition of "antiquities" and makes it a crime to remove any from the country. Offenders are prosecuted. Under Turkish law, all historic sites such as fortresses, castles and ruins, and everything in them or on the grounds or in the water, is the property of the Turkish government. Certain antiquities may be purchased, but only from authorized dealers who have been issued a certificate by a museum for each item they are authorized to sell.

www.CountryBrief.com

U.S. State Department Avian Flu Fact Sheet
March 21, 2006 Frequently Asked Questions AVIAN INFLUENZA FACT SHEET This Fact Sheet alerts Americans to the Department of State’s preparedness efforts with respect to a possible avian influenza pandemic. The Department of State emphasizes that, in the event of a pandemic, its ability to assist Americans traveling and residing abroad may be severely limited due to restrictions on local and international movement imposed for public health reasons. Furthermore, American citizens should take note that the Department of State cannot provide Americans traveling or living abroad with medications, including in the event of a pandemic. Background – H5N1 Avian Influenza A number of countries have reported cases of avian influenza, commonly referred to as “bird flu” in their domestic and wild bird populations. The H5N1 strain of influenza causes severe disease in domesticated fowl. In addition, there continues to be a number of confirmed cases of bird-to-human transmissions of avian influenza, many of which have resulted in death. Please visit the World Health Organization (WHO) website, http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/country/en/ for the most up to date information on the countries affected and the number of deaths. The vast majority of the known human cases have resulted from direct contact with poultry, and there is only limited evidence to suggest possible human-to-human transmission. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the WHO, and the Department of State are nonetheless concerned about the potential for human-to-human transmission of this highly dangerous flu strain, and are working closely with other partners in an effort to monitor the outbreak.

Travel and Avian Influenza The Department of State, the CDC and the WHO have not issued any travel alerts or warnings for avian flu-infected areas. However, the CDC advises travelers to countries with documented H5N1 outbreaks to avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces or fluids from poultry or other animals. American citizens traveling to or living in countries where avian influenza is prevalent should consider the potential risks and keep informed of the latest medical guidance and information in order to make appropriate plans. Specific CDC travel information relating to avian influenza, including preventive measures, is available at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/index.htm. WHO guidance related to avian influenza is available at http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/en/. Prevention, Response and Treatment – Take Charge of Your Plans A specific vaccine for humans that is effective in preventing avian influenza is not yet readily available. Based upon limited data, the CDC has suggested that the anti-viral medication Oseltamivir (brand name-Tamiflu) may be effective in treating avian influenza. Using this input, the Department of State has decided to pre-position the drug Tamiflu at its Embassies and Consulates worldwide, for eligible U.S. Government employees and their families serving abroad who become ill with avian influenza. We emphasize that this medication cannot be made available to private U.S. citizens abroad. Because of this, and because Tamiflu may not be readily available overseas, the State Department encourages American citizens traveling or living abroad to consult with their private physician about whether to obtain Tamiflu prior to travel, for use in the event treatment becomes necessary, or whether Tamiflu is readily available in the country where they reside. Americans should also be aware of the potential health risk posed by counterfeit drugs, including those represented as Tamiflu, by internet scam artists or in countries with lax regulations governing the production and distribution of pharmaceuticals. In addition, the Department of State has asked its embassies and consulates to consider preparedness measures that take into consideration the fact that travel into or out of a country may not be possible, safe or medically advisable. Guidance on how private citizens can prepare for a “stay in place” response, including stockpiling food, water, and medical supplies, is available on the CDC and pandemicflu.gov websites. It is also likely that governments will respond to a pandemic by imposing public health measures that restrict domestic and international movement, further limiting the U.S. Government’s ability to assist Americans in these countries. Americans who are planning travel to a country that has reported the virus or who are concerned about the Avian flu are advised to monitor the CDC and the WHO web sites for the latest information.

www.CountryBrief.com

HEALTH INFORMATION: Important: This information, compiled from the CDC and WHO, is not a complete medical guide for travelers to this region. Consult with the CDC, WHO, and your doctor for specific information related to your needs and your medical history; recommendations may differ for pregnant women, young children, and persons who have chronic medical conditions. Before travel, be sure you and your children are up to date on all routine immunizations according to schedules approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP). See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect. If it is less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see your doctor. It might not be too late to get your shots or medications as well as other information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling. Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to the Middle East. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.




 





Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling. Hepatitis B, especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11–12 years who did not receive the series as infants. Malaria: if you are traveling to a malaria-risk area in this region, see your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug. Rabies, pre-exposure vaccination, if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking, or bicycling, or engaging in certain occupational activities. Typhoid vaccine. Typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors Risk is greater if you are visiting developing countries in this region. As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults.

www.CountryBrief.com

Required Vaccinations None listed; however, the preventive measures you need to take while traveling in the Middle East depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. You should observe the precautions listed in this document in most areas of this region. Malaria Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. Humans get malaria from the bite of a mosquito infected with the parasite. Prevent this serious disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. Travelers to some areas of Iran, Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, and Yemen may be at risk for malaria. Chloroquine is the recommended antimalarial drug for Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Food and Waterborne Diseases Make sure your food and drinking water are safe. Food and waterborne diseases are the primary cause of illness in travelers. Travelers’ diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout the Middle East and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Avoid buying food or drink from street vendors, because it is relatively easy for such food to become contaminated. Other Disease Risks Cutaneous leishmaniasis is reported throughout the area; visceral leishmaniasis, although rare throughout most of the area, is common in central Iraq, in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, in the northwest of Syria, in Turkey (southeast Anatolia only), and in the west of Yemen.

www.CountryBrief.com

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman
March 31, 2006 This Public Announcement is issued to alert Americans to ongoing security concerns in Turkey. Violent clashes involving security forces and sympathizers of the PKK terrorist organization are ongoing in the town of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey and in surrounding areas including Batman, Sirnak, and Sanliurfa. The main tourist areas of Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, and the coastal regions currently are not affected by these clashes, but the unrest has the potential to spread to these regions as well. This Public Announcement expires on April 30, 2006. Recent violent clashes leading to several deaths, many injuries, and the destruction of property have occurred in Diyarbakir, an area frequented by travelers to and from the Turkey/Iraq border. Roads to the airport have been closed periodically in the last several days and many businesses and schools are closed. Police and military forces have responded to large crowds of people by using tear gas, high-pressure water, and firearms. Tanks and other heavily armored vehicles have been brought into the area in response to the violence. The Department of State advises U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Turkey to avoid these areas and to be alert for the high potential for violence when traveling in any of the southeast provinces. Department of State personnel are subject to travel restrictions in Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, and Elazig provinces. Travelers who normally use the airport in Diyarbakir on their way into or out of Iraq should instead consider using Mardin airport near Turkey’s border with Syria. The Department of State advises U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Turkey to avoid areas where crowds are expected to gather, to exercise caution, and to closely follow media reports. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens living or traveling in Turkey are encouraged to register with the Embassy or nearest consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov , and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Turkey. U.S. citizens without Internet access may register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, at the Consulate General in Istanbul, at the Consulate in Adana, or with the Consular Agent in Izmir to obtain updated information on travel and security in Turkey. Embassy communications with the resident American citizen community, or “Warden Messages,” can be found on the Embassy’s website at http://ankara.usembassy.gov . For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov , where the current Worldwide Cautions, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings can be found. Travelers should also consult the Department of State’s latest Consular information Sheet for Turkey. Information currently available has been included in this assessment. Up-todate information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). The U.S. Embassy in Ankara is located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, tel: (90)(312) 455-5555, fax (90)(312) 468-6131. The Internet address is http://ankara.usembassy.gov . The U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul is located at Kaplicalar Mevkii Sokak No. 2, 34460, Istinye, Sariyer, tel: (90) (212) 335-9000, fax (90) (212) 335-9102. Istanbul-specific information can also be accessed via the Consulate's web site at http://istanbul.usconsulate.gov/ . The U.S. Consulate in Adana is located at Girne Bulvari No. 212, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir, Adana, Turkey. tel: 90)(322) 346-6262, fax (90)(322) 346-7916, web site: http://adana.usconsulate.gov . The Consular Agent in Izmir can be contacted at (232) 464-8755.

www.CountryBrief.com


								
To top