For the last couple of years, Turkey has been experiencing difficult times resulting from the recent domestic coup attempt, refugee crisis and terrorist attacks from neighbouring countries, and the following political conflicts around these issues with the United States and Europe. This article investigates challenges and strategies of higher education institutions (HEIs) in Turkey with recent uncertainty in the free movement of students and academics in internationalisation process. Applying a qualitative critical case study, the research was carried out in four HEIs leading in internationalisation. The findings indicated that political instabilities both at the national and international levels brought several challenges for HEIs related with their internationalisation efforts in terms of security, image, and ethnic tension. Additionally, it is found that HEIs adapted to the new realities and developed several strategies to overcome these challenges such as marketisation and networking. Implications are made regarding neo-liberal influence and segmentation around class and religion.