Australia warns travelers about Anzac Day terrorist threat in Turkey

Memorial sculptures of the Gallipoli Campaign in The Gallipoli Peninsula. Source: Shutterstock/Nejdet Duzen

FOLLOWING news of a terrorist threat, the Australian government has put out an official travel alert to those traveling to Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula for Anzac Day.

Australian authorities said on Thursday they had “received information” to suggest a possible attack on the annual commemoration of Anzac Day in the Turkish peninsula.

According to an official statement released by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Turkish authorities are aware of the threat and traditionally provide high levels of protective security during the annual event.

The statement said: “Australians traveling to the Anzac Day services should minimize transit time spent in Istanbul and Ankara. Travel advice for Turkey continues to recommend travelers avoid large crowds and minimize time spent around potential targets for attack, including tourist sites.”

Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan said during an announcement, “The commemorations are scheduled to continue as planned … ultimately it is up to the traveler to make the final decision on whether to travel or not.”

Anzac Day tours are often organized in the Gallipoli peninsula and this year will mark the 102nd anniversary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli shores to fight in World War I.

Meanwhile, the current travel advice about Turkey remains unchanged.

“We continue to advise travelers to reconsider their need to travel to Ankara and Istanbul because of the high threat of a terrorist attack,” Tehan said.

Turkey has suffered from a string of terrorist attacks, including a nightclub massacre on New Year’s Eve, and an attempted coup last year that led to a crackdown.

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The attacks have caused a blow to the country’s tourism sector as more visitors are concerned about their safety.

Figures show foreign visitor numbers fell 6.5 percent in February compared to the same month in 2016. Tourism accounts for 13 percent of the Turkish economy and the industry takes up eight percent of all jobs.