THE shocking scale of the terrorist threat facing Turkey was laid bare tonight amid warnings to British tourists to avoid the country over safety fears.
Officials in Ankara revealed they have thwarted an astonishing 85 terror attacks — including defusing LIVE bombs — since the turn of the year alone.
A popular tourist spot, more than 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year for the sun, sea and exotic markets.
But holidaymakers could be putting themselves at risk of serious injury or even death as a wave of terror attacks continues to spread across the country.
Most of the attacks are linked to separatist Kurdish groups, although some have been claimed by Islamic State (ISIS) jihadis.
Today the country's government confirmed it prevented 85 "major incidents" since January — a day after the sixth suicide bombing in a Turkish city this year.
At a briefing in the capital Ankara, Deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters: "We are making great efforts in the struggle against terror.
"We have prevented 85 major incidents since January. Forty-nine of those included live bombs."
The country has been hit by a series of suicide bombings this year, including two in its largest city Istanbul blamed on ISIS, and two in the capital Ankara which were claimed by a Kurdish militant group.
It has also faced attacks from far leftist groups, mostly on police and security forces.
Last week, a suicide bomber — believed to be a member of the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks — blew herself up near the main mosque in the northwestern city of Bursa, injuring eight people.
On Sunday, two police officers were killed and 22 people wounded by a suicide car bomb in the southeastern city of Gaziantep.
While today, one person was killed and some were wounded when two rockets fired from ISIS-controlled Syria landed near a school and in a street in the Turkish border town of Kilis.
Turkey has repeatedly fired back at jihadi positions under its rules of engagement
But the state has said it needs more support from its Western allies, such as Britain, citing the difficult task of hitting moving targets.
Last week foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the United States had pledged to deploy a rocket launcher system near the stretch of border that has come under attack.
A senior US military official said the matter was under discussion but declined to comment further.
One worrying factor for tourists is that Turkish borders are the first port of call for fighters hoping to enter Syria and join ISIS troops.
Many, if not most, of the estimated 15,000-20,000 foreign fighters to have joined the Islamist death cult have first flown into Istanbul or Adana, or arrived by ferry along its Mediterranean coast.
Its military bases have also been used to distribute weapons and to train rebel fighters.
Meanwhile the country’s government have also faced accusations from Russian’s President Vladimir Putin that they are "accomplices of terrorists".
Putin claims the country have been buying oil from ISIS — something Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan labelled as ‘slander.’
After enjoying decades of the thousands of pounds of extra income that tourism brings in, the country could now see a decline in spare cash.
TravelSupermarket’s Travel Trends Tracker found that Turkey has dropped out of the top ten destinations for Brits to holiday for the first time in years.
Meanwhile Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir.
Istanbul, which attracts 7.5 million tourists every year, has been listed as a specific potential target by the Foreign Office, which has described the threat of terrorism there as ‘high’.
A statement from the FCO said: "To date most attacks in Turkey have taken place in the south and east of the country and in Ankara and Istanbul.
"Turkish authorities have successfully disrupted attack planning in the recent past.
"The Turkish authorities have said that security has been tightened in response to recent attacks.
"Nevertheless, further attacks are likely, could be indiscriminate and may target or affect places visited by foreigners."