Britons who have booked a holiday to Turkey over the school half term may be concerned about travel to the country following the two earthquakes that hit the south-eastern region of the country, as well as neighbouring Syria.
The UK Foreign Office has warned people who are in Turkey or planning to travel there to “follow the information and advice from local authorities/your tour operator”.
There were strong aftershocks felt across Turkey and as far away as Egypt following the first 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the city of Gaziantep on Monday morning.
More than 5,000 people have been killed in Turkey and Syria and there are collapsed buildings on both sides of the border.
A second earthquake that measured 7.6 on the Richter scale was recorded in Turkey’s south-eastern region of Kahramanmaraş at 1.24pm local time on Monday.
Which areas of Turkey are affected?
Is Antalya affected by the earthquakes?
The Turkish resort city of Antalya in the south-west of the country and the surrounding province – popular among British tourists with many tour operators offering holidays in the region – have not been affected by the earthquakes. The distance by air between Gaziantep and Antalya is 369 miles.
Have holidays or flights been cancelled?
No flights or package holidays from the UK to Turkey have been cancelled, according to tour operators and travel experts have confirmed.
Travel companies that offer holidays in Turkey include:
- British Airways Holidays
- On the Beach
- Thomas Cook
- Hays Travel
- EasyJet Holidays
- Jet2 Holidays
There are no flights cancelled from UK airports to Turkey as a result of the earthquakes. However, airports in the south-east of Turkey have closed , including Adana Sakirpasa Airport in the southern province of Adana, Hatay Airport in Hatay Province and Gaziantep Oğuzeli Airport in Gaziantep.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, the UK’s largest network of independent travel agents, said: “The UK Foreign Office advice to British travellers in Turkey is to avoid the affected areas and to listen to the advice of local authorities.
“At this time no flights have been cancelled from UK airlines. Anyone wanting to discuss travel to Turkey can call their local agent for further advice.”
Ashley Quint, director at TimeTravel World travel agency, said that February is not a busy time of year for UK tourists to travel to Turkey.
“There may be some who are travelling for a city break in Istanbul, a trip down to Cappadocia or possibly a winter sun trip to the coastline near Antalya,” he added.
“These are over 500 miles away from the epicentre in Gaziantep and have so far not reported any widespread damage.”
He recommends holidaymakers who are concerned about trips to Turkey to speak to their travel agent, tour operator or airline, especially if travelling imminently.
“Unless travelling to Gaziantep or Adana, it’s unlikely either will offer additional flexibility, unless there is a specific threat of aftershocks elsewhere and/or the FCDO advice changes,” he added.
What has the UK Foreign Office said?
The latest advice on the Foreign Office page for Turkey reads: “A 7.8 earthquake hit Gaziantep and neighbouring provinces in the south-east of Turkey on 6 February, 2023. On the same day a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the neighboring province of Kahramanmaraş. There have been several strong after-shocks.
“If you are in Turkey or planning to travel there you should follow the information and advice from local authorities/your tour operator.
“If you’re in the Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş or neighbouring provinces and it is safe to do so, contact your friends and family to tell them you are safe.”