Is it safe to travel to Türkiye? What the wildfires and extreme weather mean for your trip

After reports of wildfires breaking out in the cities of Izmir and Balıkesir, here’s everything we know so far about travelling to Türkiye

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
A helicopter tackles a fire in Izmir, Turkey, in July 2023
Photograph: Shutterstock

Türkiye is a go-to for beachy summer getaways, thanks to its warm sea temperatures and the whopping 300 days of sun it enjoys each year. However, much like Greece, the country has been suffering with extreme temperatures and subsequent wildfires.

Temperatures in Türkiye have been soaring above 40C since mid-June. A resort called Olympos in Antalya’s Kumluca was the first destination to see a wildfire outbreak this year. Due to continued dry temperatures, more wildfires have broken out over the last week in the cities of Izmir and Balıkesi.

Understandably, those with a trip booked might be worried about the safety of visiting Türkiye right now. Here is everything you need to know if you have a trip booked.

Where are the fires in Türkiye? 

Fires have broken out in the Selçuk and Menderes districts of İzmir, a city on the west coast of Anatolia, and in Susurluk, Balıkesir, which is in the Marmara region of Türkiye. It’s been reported that hundreds of hectares of land in these areas have been devastated, according to Kurdistan 24, but the Turkish minister of agriculture and forestry said all three fires are now under control. 

Is it safe to travel? 

Wildfires are obviously a concern if you have a trip booked to Türkiye, but there is currently no advice against travelling to the country related to their outbreak. It’s best to check directly with your travel provider and stay up to date on advice for the area you’re travelling to – local authorities will likely issue precautions should there be extreme temperatures or more wildfires predicted. 

What’s the latest UK Foreign Office advice? 

There are several areas in Türkiye where the Foreign Office advises against travelling to (it advises against all travel within 10km of the country’s border with Syria, and all but essential travel to Sirnak City and the Hakkari Province), however they aren’t wildfire-related. 

The safety and security page contains some advice on wildfires, which says: ‘Wildfires happen frequently in Turkey during summer. You could get a fine or prison sentence for lighting a fire of any kind or discarding cigarettes in risk areas such as woodland. Barbecues are prohibited in these areas. If there is a wildfire in your area, local authorities may tell you to leave your accommodation. Follow the directions of local authorities. If you see a wildfire, call emergency services on 112.’

Where else in Europe has been affected by wildfires?

Greece has also been suffering from extreme temperatures over the last few weeks. Athens closed schools and tourist attractions, including the Acropolis, during the country’s earliest-ever heatwave and the islands of Cyprus, Crete, Kos and Chios have also seen outbreaks of wildfires. 

Elsewhere in Europe, dangerous storms and torrential rain have impacted southern Switzerland, northeast France and northern Italy over the last few days, and seven people have reportedly been killed

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