Terror in Turkey
CoGo was somewhat surprised when Western governments declined to issue travel advisories or warnings about Turkey after two terrorist bombs exploded in popular tourist spots on the Turkish coast this month. Could it be that the U.S. State Department and its counterparts in Europe were pulling their punches because they didn't want to upset a key ally in a predominantly Muslim country?
But CoGo's natural cynicism deflated after talking to experts with two of the world's largest risk-analysis firms. Both iJet Intelligent Risk Systems and Control Risks Group answer to business clients who pay them for the straight scoop, politics be damned. And analysts at both firms said the incidents had not altered their view that Turkey remains a relatively safe destination.
"At the moment we are telling our clients that travel can continue to Turkey as normal," said Sarah Meyers, a London analyst with Control Risks -- advice that was echoed by Ed Daly of iJet, based in Annapolis. Both noted that the first incident -- a small device exploded in a rubbish bin in Cesme that injured 20, including two foreign tourists -- was typical of attacks carried out by Kurdish separatist groups, in that foreigners were not targeted and the device was not designed for maximum impact.
In the second attack, in the resort town of Kusadasi, a bomb in a minivan killed five people, including an Irish and a British tourist, and injured 20 others. That bears watching, Meyers and Daly agreed, since it seems that foreigners were being targeted and the damage was more extensive than usual.
Bottom line: In today's world, that's not enough to raise alert levels. Thus Turkey's risk rating by Control Risks remains at "medium" -- the same level assigned to most Western European countries, said Meyers. She noted that Turkish authorities have stepped up security since the attacks, including at tourist sites, beaches and resorts.
It never hurts to call ahead, but in general, travelers to Cancun in coming days will likely find that Hurricane Emily has not spoiled their vacation plans. But don't be so sure if you're headed south to the Riviera Maya or the island of Cozumel. Emily hit harder in those two resort areas, and while some hotels stayed open throughout the storm, others were still cleaning up or awaiting electricity last week. Still others were assessing damages and not yet offering a date for reopening. Word to the wise: Call ahead.
Same advice goes to travelers to the U.S.-Mexico border area. The eye of the hurricane hit the Mexican coast about 75 miles south of the border on Wednesday, then began its slow move inland, dumping torrential rain in the mountains of northeastern Mexico. The outer edge of the storm also pounded the south Texas coastline, including San Padre Island, but some who ignored warnings to move to higher ground said they were enjoying the excitement of big waves and 60 mph winds.
Boston last week debuted walking and driving tours of the locations of popular movies and TV shows. Details: 866-Movie45, www.bostonmovietours.net . . . Attending the Winter Olympic Games in February? Accommodation options include a room in the home of an Italian family, or a house or villa in Turin or seven other competition sites. Details: 800-828-8768, Ext. 150, www.italywintergames.com.
BARGAIN OF THE WEEK
Fly across the pond this summer for as little as $558 round trip. Details: What's the Deal?, Page P3.
Reporting: Cindy Loose.
Help feed CoGo. Send travel news, road reports and juicy tattles to: email@example.com. By fax: 202-912-3609. By mail: CoGo, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.