People, Travel

Tour Operator Unsure About Turkey Safety

Tour Operator Unsure About Turkey SafetyTour Operator Unsure About Turkey Safety

A Tehran-based tour operator has questioned whether lifting the ban on tours to Turkey was a wise decision, as the lack of security in the country makes it challenging to guarantee tourists’ safety.

Iran lifted the month-long ban on tours to the neighboring country on August 13 after a trip to Ankara by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, TINN news agency reported.

The ban was placed following an attempt by a faction of the Turkish military to topple the country’s ruling party on July 15, which did little to allay tourists’ security concerns in the world’s fifth most visited country.

The countries have made public their intentions to normalize ties after the ban was lifted, but Mohammad Nasser Goldoust, chief executive of a travel agency in Tehran and a senior board member at the Association of Air Transport and Tourist Agencies of Iran, is not convinced that Turkey is safe for travel.

“Normally countries advise their citizens against traveling to a destination that is wrought with instability and cannot guarantee people’s safety,” he said.

“This is while Iran has not only lifted the ban on tours, but has not even issued a travel advisory. So, who’s going to take responsibility if something happens to Iranian tourists?”

Goldoust said countries rarely suspend flights to countries with security problems and see travel warnings as a good indicator of the level of threat at a destination.

“Since many people travel for business or other urgent matters, you can’t just ban flights, but leisure travelers must decide for themselves whether traveling to a country with safety issues is worth the risk,” the travel agent added.

Turkey last month issued a three-month long state of emergency, which has done little to allay people’s fears.

At least 50 people were killed on Saturday in what is now the deadliest attack in Turkey this year, when a suspected suicide bomber detonated his explosives among people dancing on the street at a Kurdish wedding party in the southern city of Gaziantep, the latest in a string of bombings carried out in the country by the terrorist group Daesh, the Arabic acronym for the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.