Information for Travelers
Americans traveling to Southeastern Turkey, the site of PKK/KADEK/KONGRA GEL actions, should exercise caution!
The PKK/KADEK terrorist organization retains a residual presence in certain parts of southeastern Turkey. In June 2004 the indigenous terrorist group PKK/KADEK/KONGRA GEL announced an end to their “unilateral ceasefire.” Since the announcement, there have been several attacks in the southeast region of Turkey, where the group has traditionally concentrated its activities. 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, the potential for PKK/KADEK activity remains. The provinces in southeast Turkey are Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingöl, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, Adana, Adiyaman, Hatay, Elazig, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Içel, Osmaniye and Sanliufra (See area outlined in black). Mount Ararat is located in a special military zone and access permission must be obtained from the Turkish Government.
Visitors to southeastern Turkey are advised to travel only during daylight hours and on major highways.
Drivers and all passengers in the vehicle should be prepared to provide identification if stopped at a checkpoint.
Pay careful attention to military and Jandarma and be prepared to show your identification card or passport, drivers license and vehicle registration at checkpoints and roadblocks. Roll down the driver's side window (passenger side, also, in vehicles with tinted windows) when stopped by security officials. Soldiers can then safely inspect the vehicle and its occupants. Remain calm, do not made any quick movements and obey all instructions. Security officials may restrict access to some roads at times, and military escort vehicle/s may be required to "convoy" visitor 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. The PKK/KADEK 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 - a serious charge.
This advice applies to all U.S. visitors to Southeastern Turkey. Department of State personnel are subject to travel restrictions in Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, and Elazig provinces. (See area highlighted in green) U.S. military and DOD civilians should consult their local area commander regarding any restrictions in effect for Southeastern Turkey.
Additional Sources of Information: State Department Consular Affairs Website