Is it safe to travel to Turkey? Latest FCDO travel advice explained as earthquake death toll rises

The death toll from a devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria has now passed 35,000, making it one of the world’s worst natural disasters in the past decade.

In the early hours of Monday 6 February, a powerful 7.8 magnitude quake hit Gaziantep in the south-east of Turkey.

This was followed by another 7.5 magnitude tremor in the neighbouring province of Kahramanmaras later that day.

Thousands of rescue teams searched for survivors among the rubble of decimated towns and cities in south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria, with the UN warning that the death toll is likely to climb far higher.

The Turkish government has declared a national emergency in 10 provinces affected by the earthquake:

  • Gaziantep
  • Hatay
  • Osmaniye
  • Adıyaman
  • Diyarbakır
  • Sanliurfa
  • Kahramanmaras
  • Kilis
  • Adana
  • Malatya

Here’s everything you need to know if you were planning to travel to Turkey from the UK.

People walk among rubble, in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake, in Elbistan town, Kahramanmaras, Turkey February 12, 2023. REUTERS/Issam Abdallah
People walk among rubble, in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake, in Elbistan town, Kahramanmaras (Photo: Reuters)

Is it safe to travel to Turkey?

Following the earthquakes, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) updated its guidance for people visiting Turkey from the UK.

It advises: “The Turkish government has stated that only vehicles which carry aid teams and aid materials will be allowed to enter cities deemed to be inside the area of the disaster.

“If you are in the affected area, you should exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities.”

For people who require consular assistance, the FCDO has a 24-hour helpline you can contact at +90 312 455 3344, selecting the option of “consular services for British nationals”. It also has a web contact form, which you can access here.

More on Turkey-Syria earthquake

The FCDO also directs UK travellers to AFAD, the Turkish disaster management service, which operates a

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