NSC redoubles warning against travel to Turkey

Istanbul  credit: Shlomi Yosef
Istanbul credit: Shlomi Yosef

Following the killing of an Iranian Revolutionary Guards officer, the National Security Council warns of a substantive threat in the most popular vacation destination for Israelis.

The National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau has sharpened its travel warning for Turkey for Israelis. "For several weeks, and especially since Iran has accused Israel of responsibility for the death of the Revolutionary Guards officer last week (May 22), the fear has been growing in the security establishment of Iranian attempts to hit Israeli targets around the world," the National Security Council states. In the light of this, it warns that "Turkey is a high-risk country for Israelis at this time." The official recommendation for Israeli citizens is to refrain from non-essential travel to Turkey, and for those who must go there to exercise extra caution.

The announcements also states: "According to agencies in the defense establishment, this is a warning against the background of a substantive threat to Israelis in Turkey. The threat level has also risen in other countries bordering Iran. Israeli citizens should therefore stay alert and be strict about safety rules in any journey to one of these countries."

The precautions that the National Security Council recommends are "to avoid making contact with strangers and to be suspicious of any proposal or approach from people not known to you, including providers of local services, avoidance of disclosing personal details, itinerary, and precise location in real time or in advance, avoid speaking to foreigners about past military service, avoidance of displaying outward signs of Israeli identity, and so forth."

Turkey is currently the leading vacation destination for Israelis for the approaching Shavuot holiday and for the summer. According to travel agents, Turkey in general and Antalya in particular are destinations for families, especially those looking for an all-in package deal at a resort. The value for money and the product that Turkey offers position it ahead of Greece and Cyprus at present. Will this now change?

A traveler who was due to leave for Antalya this week told "Globes" that he had decided to cancel his flight. "We booked the vacation knowing that there was a travel waring, but know, with the announcement that the warning has become more severe, we informed the airline that we were cancelling the trip." In this instance, it should be pointed out, the person will pay a cancelation fee and also a handling fee under the terms of the ticket that he bought. Travel insurance covering cancelation for any reason can give people money back on most of the expenses they will lose as a result of canceling a flight. As far as the airlines are concerned, as long as they continue to fly the route, the decision whether or not to turn up for a flight is in the hands of the passenger, who also bears the financial damage.

Shirley Cohen Orkaby, VP of Marketing and Sales at Eshet Tours, says that at this stage there has been no perceptible decline in bookings, or rise in requests to cancel, "but that may change later in the day." She also says that anyone who wishes to cancel can do so under the Consumer Protection Law. The law stipulates that a transaction made remotely (by Internet or telephone) can be canceled for up to 14 days from the date it was made, as long as the travel date is at least seven days away.

The Flying Carpet travel agency has also not seen any change in the pace of bookings. VP Sales Oren Cohen Meguri says, "The rate of bookings for the summer for family vacations in Antalya continues as normal. In the next few days, tens of thousands of Israelis will fly to spend the Shavuot holiday in Antalya, and we are not experiencing cancellations by our customers."

"This is the renewal of an existing warning," says Flying Carpet sales and marketing manager Nir Mazor. "We saw a similar element before the Passover holiday in connection with Dubai and Sinai. In practice, it had no effect on visitor traffic, which only strengthened several times over. We expect that as long as the political situation between the countries remains stable, warnings of this kind will not have any effect. After all, we live in Israel, and Israelis are used to dealing with risk in their daily lives."

From enquiries at Phoenix and Passportcard, it appears that there will be no change in the terms or pricing of travel insurance policies for Turkey.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 30, 2022.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.

Istanbul  credit: Shlomi Yosef
Istanbul credit: Shlomi Yosef
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