Today the U.S. State Department issued “Travel Warnings” against Turkey and Lebanon, bringing the total number of nations on the list to 36 (see them here).
What’s the Problem
Note that the Turkey advisory does not warn against all travel in that nation. Click the country name to read the entire statement.
Turkey: According to the warning, “The U.S. Consulate General in Adana has been authorized to draw down its non-emergency staff and family members because of threats against U.S. government facilities and personnel. The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens defer non-essential travel to southeastern Turkey.” Note: Istanbul is in the northwest region of Turkey.
Lebanon: “The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon because of current safety and security concerns. U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept risks in remaining and should carefully consider those risks. On September 6, the Department of State drew down non-emergency personnel and family members from Embassy Beirut due to potential threats to U.S. Mission facilities and personnel.”
Difference between Travel Warnings and Alerts
It can be easy to confuse a travel warning with a travel alert. Here are the differences as noted on State’s official website and you can click warning or alert for more information.
Warnings: “Travel Warnings are issued when long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable lead the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government’s ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff.”
Alerts: “Travel Alerts are issued to disseminate information about short-term conditions, either transnational or within a particular country, that pose significant risks to the security of U.S. citizens. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, anniversaries of terrorist events, election-related demonstrations or violence, and high-profile events such as international conferences or regional sports events are examples of conditions that might generate a Travel Alert.”
Note: There is currently only one alert in effect – for the 2013 hurricane season.
Finally, we just want to point out that the State Department’s site, Travel.State.Gov is an excellent resource for all travelers and a goldmine for passport information.