Istanbul, İstiklal Avenue during New Year's Eve

Turkey bans tourists from several streets and squares on New Year’s Eve

Although foreign tourists are exempt from the 4-day curfew due to the pandemic, they will be banned from various tourist spots.

The Turkish Interior Ministry issued today an order regarding access to several tourist places during New Year’s Eve, prohibiting access to them to tourists in order to avoid celebrations and crowds because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the instructions sent by the ministry to the governors of the 81 provinces of the country, local authorities are ordered to take the necessary measures to avoid celebrations in the street during the New Year that could “lead people to gather together in an uncontrolled manner, which could jeopardise the fight against the pandemic.”

The ministerial order refers to the 4-day curfew that will last from 9:00 p.m. on December 31 (Thursday) to 5:00 a.m. on January 4 (Monday), and mentions foreign tourists, which until now were exempted from complying with the curfews decreed during the week (from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) and on weekends (from 9 p.m. on Friday to 5 a.m. on Monday).

In this regard, the ministerial note indicates that foreign tourists will continue to be exempt from complying with said curfews also during the 4-day curfew decreed as of tomorrow; however, they are prohibited from accessing certain tourist sites that could become potential meeting and celebration points during the New Year.

The Turkish Ministry of the Interior indicates that among the tourist places to which tourists will be banned from accessing on New Year’s Eve – specifically from 9:00 p.m. on December 31 to 10:00 a.m. on January 1 – are the famous İstiklal Avenue and Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Kızılay Square / July 15 in Ankara, and Gündoğan Square in İzmir. Local authorities may also restrict tourists’ access to other public streets and squares.