Ankara Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Ankara
How safe is Ankara?
Threat level: Medium-High
COVID-19 Situation in Ankara
Turkey is on the red list of countries that are deemed unsafe to travel due to a high COVID-19 infection rate.
Turkey has reopened its borders on the 12th of June and international flights resumed on the same day from certain countries including the UK. Entry is subject to screening to detect potential symptoms of the virus including temperature checks and travellers must present a negative PCR test on arrival, taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure to Turkey. Before arriving in Turkey, passengers will have to complete a passenger locator form within 72 hours of travel, indicating the address where they will be staying and their contact details.
Turkey has divided the country into four tiers according to the risk level of COVID-19: low, medium, high and very high. Before travelling, travellers must verify the status of their final destination. As a result of this, the country has implemented more stringent restrictions. A nationwide curfew is in place between 22:00 and 05:00 and in high and very high risk areas, a weekend curfew is in effect from Saturday, 22:00 to Monday, 05:00. Public venues such as retail shops, restaurants, and cafes are open between 07:00 and 19:00 with a limit on capacity reduced by 50% but takeaway services are allowed after 19:00. The use of face masks is mandatory in public at all times and smoking in public is banned.
Elderly over the age of 65 are allowed outside within the vicinity of their houses between 10:00 and 14:00 and people under the age of 20 are allowed outside between 14:00 and 18:00 unless going out for work. In high and very high risk areas, people from these age groups are not allowed on public transport.
See our healthcare section for more advice.
Security in Ankara
Ankara is the capital city of Turkey and is the second largest city in the country after Istanbul. It is home to many foreign diplomats and is seen as a major target for political demonstrations and potential terrorist attacks.
The city remains on high alert due to the heightened threat of attacks in recent years that have targeted large gatherings and the recent coup d’état that has caused civil unrest. It is advised that all tourists that wish to visit Ankara remain ultra-vigilant, as its present status is not very safe.
Terrorist attacks are continuing to hit major cities in Turkey, in particular Istanbul and Ankara have seen a disturbing amount of major attacks in 2015 and 2016.
In October 2019, Turkey invaded Syria to take action against the Kurdish people in Northern Syria. It is feared that this action will lead to further terrorist activity in Ankara and across Turkey because the Kurds were guarding ISIS prisoners.
On 15-16 July 2016, militants attempted a coup d’état to seize control of several major cities, including Ankara and Istanbul. Over 300 people were killed, 100 were injured, and many governmental buildings were damaged. Although the coup was unsuccessful, the current political situation in Ankara is unstable, as the city remains on high alert, with an increasing number of security checks in public places to uncover any suspects linked to the coup.
On 10 October 2015, 2 explosions took place near the main train station in the Ulus area of Ankara. It was reported that at least 200 people were killed with more than 180 injured.
In March 2016, a bomb exploded in Kizilay square, central Ankara, killing 37 people and leaving 125 injured. The attack was targeted at a main transport hub in the city, where a number of buses were located and is known to be a busy area, particularly for tourists.
A large explosion took place in February 2016 that was deemed to target a main military base in central Ankara. Officials have confirmed that 28 people were killed and 61 injured.
Further attacks are likely to hit major cities in Turkey, targeting tourists and Westerners. An extreme right group, known as TAK, have claimed responsibility for the March and February attacks and have declared their intention to target other touristic areas in Turkey.
As demonstrated, Turkey and Ankara are extremely vulnerable and are frequently target destinations for attacks. It is important for all travellers who wish to visit Turkey and the capital city, to remain vigilant at all times and to be well-informed of any potential risks by monitoring the media and other local information sources.
The state of emergency that was imposed after the military coup in 2016 has now been lifted, but restrictions are still in place.
There is civil unrest throughout Turkey that often leads to outbreaks of protests and demonstrations, affecting major cities like Ankara and the south-east of the country. It is advised to avoid large gatherings or demonstrations that could have the potential to turn violent.
In general, crime rate is relatively low but like other main cities, petty thefts and pickpocketing are common in major tourist areas. Keep your valuables safe and never leave any of your bags unattended. Thieves often work in groups and will try to distract you whilst others will pinch your belongings. Be aware of all your surroundings, and it is advised to avoid carrying many valuables if at all possible.
Travelling around Ankara
Ankara has a well-established public transport network system throughout the city that is of high standard and cost-efficient. The metro is particularly useful as it is easy, fast, and a cheap way to get around the city and reach your destinations. For shorter distances, taxis are probably the best solution, as they are readily available and reasonably priced.
There are two main bus companies in Ankara: EGO Buses and OHO Buses. The way to differentiate between the two is by the colour of the bus: EGO buses are white and blue while OHO buses are blue. Both types of buses use the same network and bus stops, so they are easy to find. They are also a convenient use of transportation around the city of Ankara, costing roughly 1 dollar per adult.
It is not advised to drive by car in Ankara, as most roads signs are inadequate with chaotic traffic, and road users are often aggressive. Travellers walking around Ankara should be particularly cautious when crossing the roads, as there is little respect for pedestrians. When crossing the road, make sure that both sides are clear and cross carefully and quickly.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency services in Ankara:
Police emergency: 155
Fire emergency: 110
Fire emergency: 177 (Woodland/Forest fire service)
Medical emergency: 112
Maritime emergency (Coastguard): 158
Missing child/Women's helpline: 183
Currency: Turkish lira
Time now in Ankara:
Consular information for Ankara
U.S. Embassy Ankara
110 Atatürk Blvd,
Telephone: +90 312 455 5555
British Embassy Ankara
Şehit Ersan Caddesi 46/A,
Telephone: +90 312 455 33 44
Canadian Embassy Ankara
Cinnah Caddesi no: 58,
Telephone: +90 312 409 27 00
For further embassy information and locations, please see our live travel map below.
Useful websites for visiting Ankara
Healthcare and Immunisations
The standard of the healthcare system in Ankara has greatly improved in recent years, although it is still not to the same quality as most Western countries.
Most major cities, like Ankara, consist of many private healthcare hospitals that are now equipped to a high standard, with well-trained doctors and a higher quality of care. However, state-run hospitals are still badly run with poor funding, resulting in a shortage of supplies and poorly maintained equipment.
COVID-19 cases have been reported in Turkey. There is no vaccination against the disease, to avoid contracting the disease, apply good hygiene practices, wear a mask, self-isolate, maintain social distancing, avoid public transports and gatherings.
It is important to know that there are only a few doctors who speak English, and so make sure to check if the hospital employs English translators or doctors who can speak English.
A highly recommended hospital in Ankara with English-speaking doctors is the 'Baskent Universite Hastanesi', which is highly professional and well-equipped.
Bodyguard Services in Turkey
Intelligent Protection International Limited provide Bodyguard Services for clients travelling to Turkey. If you are interested in these service, please see: Bodyguard Services Turkey.