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Travel to Turkey during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN Staff

If you’re planning to travel to Turkey, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Having endured a major spike in cases in the first half of 2021, which led to a 17-day lockdown at the end of April, Turkey has begun to ease restrictions. As of July, it has scrapped its nighttime curfew and Sunday lockdowns, and begun to tentatively reopen.

What’s on offer

With thriving cities, spectacular ancient ruins and monuments and landscapes ripe for exploration — plus spectacular beaches — Turkey has long been a favorite among tourists looking for an idyllic summer getaway.

Who can go

Anyone can travel to Turkey, though some are subject to restrictions. Those who have been in Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal or Sri Lanka in the 14 days prior to travel will be quarantined for 14 days on arrival.

Passengers from Afghanistan and Pakistan are subject to a 10-day quarantine, while arrivals from the UK, Egypt, Iran and Singapore must undergo mandatory testing before entering the country. See below for details.

What are the restrictions?

Arrivals from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal or Sri Lanka must submit a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure, before spending 14 days in government quarantine facilities. A further negative PCR test on the final day of quarantine is required. If positive, these arrivals will need to complete a further 14 days in quarantine.

Those arriving from Afghanistan and Pakistan must undertake the same testing regime prior to departure, but will only need to spend 10 days in quarantine, with a second test on day 7. Quarantine facilities are determined by Turkey’s different governorships, with costs varying depending on where travelers stay.

Those coming from the UK, Egypt, Iran and Singapore must provide evidence of a negative PCR test taken within at least 72 hours of leaving for Turkey, regardless of vaccine status.

All other international arrivals must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure, or an antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure. You can skip these with either proof of a Covid-19 infection in the past six months or of vaccination at least 14 days before arrival.

All Turkish airports are operating random testing. Passengers can proceed to their destination after they have been tested, but anyone who receives a positive test must quarantine for 14 days at their specified address, along with their close contacts. This can be terminated if a negative result is returned on day 10 — the local authorities will handle it on site.

All passengers must complete a Turkey Entry Form at least 72 hours before departure. Paper or mobile copies can be shown on arrival.

Children under six are not required to submit testing or vaccine information, while passengers transiting are also exempt.

What’s the Covid situation?

Turkey’s death toll stands at 57,000, with more than six million cases registered. After a tough first year, the situation has improved markedly following a number of strict lockdowns and restrictions on socializing, although numbers rose again in July. It has fully vaccinated over 44% of the population as of September 2.

What can visitors expect?

Turkey’s provinces have been split into four risk tiers: low, medium, high and very high. An official online portal details what to expect in each region. On a national level, mask wearing remains mandatory everywhere outside the home, including in outdoor public spaces, parks, beaches, gardens and markets. Smoking has also been banned in open public areas.

Nightly curfews and Sunday lockdowns have now been removed and cafes and restaurants can serve unlimited numbers of people. Concerts are also allowed with no capacity restrictions, but are subject to a midnight curfew. Social distancing rules remain in place.

Museums have reopened, although mask wearing, social distancing and hygiene measures remain in place.

Useful links

Turkey Entry Form

Ministry of Health

Our latest coverage

Get set for your post Covid-19 Turkish adventure by exploring Cappadocia and its fascinating underground cities and learning about the country’s 23 best dishes, all before working out which beach is best on the beautiful Turquoise Coast.

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