Travel alert for Anzac tourists

Tourists walk among the headstones at Ari Burnu Cemetery on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Photo / Alan Gibson
Tourists walk among the headstones at Ari Burnu Cemetery on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Photo / Alan Gibson

New Zealanders travelling to Gallipoli for Anzac Day commemorations are warned to "exercise caution" on the historic battlefield and avoid Turkey's two main cities after the latest terror attacks.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) updated its travel advice to Turkey last night.

"If you are travelling to Gallipoli for Anzac Day we advise that you minimise your transit time in Ankara and Istanbul and avoid tourist areas in these cities."

Areas in the south-east of Turkey also carry an extreme or high risk level.

There is no ballot for the 2016 Anzac Day services at Gallipoli on April 25. Australia and New Zealand will conduct the popular dawn service at 5.30am after an overnight vigil.
Later that morning, New Zealand will conduct its own memorial service at Chunuk Bair.

The New Zealand Government says that while there is no indication that terrorist groups have intentions to target Kiwis, New Zealand interests or the Gallipoli commemorations in Turkey, it is advising caution on the Gallipoli peninsula "due to the threat from terrorism and potential for civil unrest".

"New Zealanders throughout Turkey are advised to exercise a high degree of vigilance in public places and keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources," the travel advice states.

It adds that the security environment in Turkey may change between now and Anzac Day and that New Zealanders travelling to Turkey for the Anzac commemorations regularly monitor SafeTravel and the government's travel advice.

Consular staff from MFAT will be positioned in Istanbul, Canakkale, and on the Gallipoli Peninsula over the period April 17 to 27 to provide on-the-ground consular assistance.
The Australian government has released similar travel advice.

Turkey has been targeted in a string of bomb attacks this year attributed to Islamic State (IS).

On January 12, a suicide attack in the Sultanahmet tourist district of Istanbul killed twelve foreign nationals and injured a number of others.

In February, a large explosion in central Ankara killed 28 people and last month, an explosion in the Kizilay district of Ankara killed 37 people and injured many more.

Australians have also been advised to minimise transit time in Istanbul and Ankara, with Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop saying the decision was "not taken lightly".

The number of foreign visitors going to Turkey fell 10 per cent in February, the biggest drop in a decade, amid security concerns for a country feeling the spillover effects from the war in Syria.

- nzherald.co.nz, AAP

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