Over the past few hours, the USA and Turkey have banned the issuance of travel visas that effectively bans American citizens from entering Turkey, and vice versa. Turkey issued their ban hours ago after the USA instituted the ban earlier on Monday (October 9).
This comes as part of the American protest over the arrest of a Turkish citizen who worked for the US Embassy in Ankara. The Turks claim the employee has links to Fethullah Gulen, an individual that Turkey believes is behind terrorist attacks within their borders.
Typically, Americans traveling to Turkey simply buy their Visas at the airport in Istanbul or other points of entry and proceed to enter the country with no problem. However, as a result of this suspension this is no longer possible and Americans traveling to Turkey in the near term will not be allowed to enter the country. This ban applies to the online Turkish E-Visa system as well.
Turkish Airline flights between the USA and Turkey have not been impacted thus far. No US based carrier flies to Turkey.
The situation is quite fluid so expect more updates.
As a result of an apparent coup attempt in Turkey earlier today, major airports in the country have been closed and there are no indications as to when they will re-open to passenger traffic.
Media reports suggest widespread attacks by Turkey’s own military has been taking place on a variety of targets in Istanbul such as their police headquarters and other government installations. What’s not clear at the moment is the leadership of Turkey.
Rumors have been suggesting that Tayyip Erdogan has gone into hiding and requests for his asylum in various countries has thus far been rejected. It also appears that the military has taken control of most media outlets in the country.
According to the media, border crossings have been closed and all major airports are shut down and are under military control. If your plans involve traveling to, or transiting Turkey, please check with your airline or travel agent. These events do not seem to have an end in sight, and you may be better off simply avoid Turkey for the foreseeable future.
For US Citizens, the State Department has set up a dedicated page tracking the events and providing advice for Americans trapped in Turkey.
Tune into your local news outlets, because this is far from over……
In what I would categorize under the heading of ‘What are they thinking?’, Turkey has decided in order to revive tourism to a once thriving coastal town, it would make sense to sink an Airbus A300 into the ocean in the hopes that divers would come to visit it. They also claim that it will help build a new reef for fish and corals to make home and would be the largest aircraft ever to be sunk for this purpose. The last point I won’t argue since it’s been proven that artificial reefs can work. What I do wonder is will people now flock to Kusadasi, Turkey to dive the wreck.
What used to be a favorite destination of Russians and Europeans alike, Kusadasi is struggling to stay alive. In fact, according to the RT.com article covering the event, it is suggested that Russian tourism has fallen off by as much as 81% due to sanctions, terrorism and basic distrust of each other. Also noted was the fact that dozens of hotels, restaurants, and shops have been shuttered due to the dramatic drop in tourism. Apparently the dunking of an Airbus is the best idea that the local Chamber of Commerce could come up with!
Back to the sinking of the A300….
The A300 was dismantled in Istanbul and trucked on 5 flatbeds to Kusadasi where cranes helped position the aircraft. With the aid of rafts and divers, it was lowered, complete with wings, into its final resting place 60 feet below the surface of the Aegean Sea. It is now open for business.
To see various tweets and Instagram posts showing the event, click here to be taken to the RT.com story.
Are you thinking ‘Slow News Day” ???
On a recent trip to Europe, I had built in an 18 hour visit to Istanbul in order to pick up a Birthday present for my wife and to visit one of my most favorite eateries in the world, Durumzade. Of course I had to build in some plane spotting time as well…..
I had arrived in Istanbul from Hamburg (via Munich) at approximately 1am and my flight to Zurich would take place at 6p the same day. The plan was to be at the airport by 1 or 2p so that I can explore the nooks and crannies of the airport and find the perfect spot for photos.
I had been to Istanbul previously but plane spotting was ‘not allowed’ to be on the itinerary. This time, traveling solo, it WAS the itinerary! 🙂
For you spotters and ‘avgeeks’ Istanbul offers a wide array of traffic that most of us in the USA or Europe do not see on a regular basis. I love these kinds of airports because you just don’t know what you’ll find (like a Turkmenistan airliner for example).
The one critique that I have of ‘IST’ is the fact that they used green-tinted windows throughout the terminal which skews the colors in a photo. The reason for the tinted window makes sense as it is designed to help Air Conditioning be more efficient. Unfortunately the designers and builders failed to take into account what that would mean to plane spotters and their photos! 🙂
Anyway, after spending some quality time in Turkish’s fantastic lounge, I wound up having about 3 hours to walk through the gate areas to find a few good spots. Among a few that I found, my favorite and the one I would recommend is the area around Gate 26. The spot gives you a great look over the cargo ramp as well as having the ocean serve as a fantastic backdrop as you catch aircraft landing. There are a few other spots that give you a good look, but none nearly as good as Gate 26.
Here are a few of my favorite shots during my time in IST. As you can imagine IST is dominated by Turkish Airlines so I did not list every single photo that I took since many of them are TK aircraft. After all, how many Turkish 777s and A330s do you need to see, right? 🙂
If you’d like to see my other Plan Spotting posts, you can find them on my Plane Spotting Index page.
Gate 26 at Istanbul offers a great vantage point.
Istanbul’s Cargo ramp as seen from Gate 26