Should You Cancel Your Travel to Istanbul?
We have been receiving this question from our readers who are curious about whether or not they should cancel their reservations given the recent protests in Istanbul, and Turkey. Safety is a concern for all of us, so we asked this question to our team members who live in Istanbul.
Is Istanbul safe?
We have been keeping a close eye on the protests for obvious reasons. Just the other day, we discussed whether Istanbul and Turkey is safe for travelers. The short answer is a “yes, but”.
Why do we think it’s safe? First off, Istanbul is a giant city and the likelihood that someone might end up in the middle of a protest unexpectedly is relatively low unless he or she happens to be in Taksim Square or Gezi Park or is actively seeking to get involved in a protest. As long as you avoid Taksim Square, you should be fine.
Also, most of the touristy neighborhoods in Istanbul are not much impacted by the protests. The top two neighborhoods of interest to you are, of course, Sultanahmet and the Bazaar District. And both of these neighborhoods are located across the Golden Horn and hence are quite far from the infamous Taksim Square. Chances you, as a visitor, will spend most of your time in these two neighborhoods, so you should be safe.
Should you stay in or around Taksim Square?
As of this writing, most of the protests are passive and police intervention is minimal. Life is back to normal in Istanbul. So, we don’t see much reason to not stay in Taksim Square. If you want to have a piece of mind, however, you can choose to stay at hotels outside of the Taksim Square area. Make sure to consult with a travel expert at the time of travel to modify your arrangements, if needed.