Is it still safe to take a holiday in Turkey?
Posted on 18/07/2016


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As Turkey reels from a coup attempt which shut the country's airports on Friday, UK-bound flights are once again taking off but holidaymakers have been advised to be vigilant.

Holidaymakers due to travel to Turkey have been urged to contact their airlines and tour operators before leaving home, after a failed coup attempt on Friday evening shut the country's airports and sparked violence in both Ankara and Istanbul.

What does the Foreign Office say?

What does the Foreign Office say?
Dmitry Chulov / 123rf

Airlines including British Airways and Thomas Cook have said that flights are now returning to normal. Those already in the country have been advised to arrive earlier than usual in order to clear additional security checks in Turkish airports.

The UK Foreign Office has relaxed its travel advice for Britons, saying that the situation "appears to be calming". At present the coastal regions do not seem to be particularly affected, but visitors are still advised to remain vigilant, it says.

It added that those in Istanbul or Ankara should avoid public places, particularly demonstrations. "Take sensible precautions if you are in the vicinity of any military or security forces. Roadblocks are in place in some areas," its website reads.

"Security operations to detain alleged perpetrators continue across the country, with reports of gunfire. We are aware of such action in Konya, Marmaris, Van and at Sabiha Gokcen airport in Istanbul (which remains open and operating as normal). You should continue to exercise caution."

Some 265 people were killed in clashes between factions of the army who were involved in the coup attempt and supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Another 6,000 have been arrested, including soldiers and judges, in what the government is called a 'clean-up operation'.

What do the airlines say?

Thomas Cook was offering free amendments or cancellations for all those due to travel over the weekend, but a spokesman has said that they will continue to run a normal flight and holiday programme. "Our staff on the ground in resort tell us that everything is calm and customers are enjoying their holidays," he said.

British Airways, which had cancelled all its flights to Turkey over the weekend, said flights would resume as normal on Monday. "Our flights to Turkey have resumed but we recommend that customers visit to check the status of their individual flight," it said in a statement.

Low-cost airline easyJet said it had to cancel 12 flights to and from Turkey on Sunday but that flights would return to normal on Monday. "Current advice from the British authorities is to continue our flying programme. This will be kept under continuous review," it said.