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Is it safe to travel to Turkey?

No refunds for tourists who cancel Turkey holidays


British travellers due to visit Turkey are unlikely to get their money back if they cancel their trip because of ongoing civil disruption.

Despite several days of anti-government demonstrations in cities across Turkey in which police have used tear gas and water cannons, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has decided that the situation is not serious enough to advise British visitors to avoid popular holiday destinations in the country.

The FCO currently advises British nationals to avoid all demonstrations – the biggest have been in central Istanbul, as well as in cities such as Ankara and Izmir, but it deems the cities safe to visit in general. Beach resorts, such as Bodrum, Fethiye and Marmaris, that are commonly visited by British tourists, have seen some peaceful demonstrations. People are also warned to allow extra time for local travel, particularly airport transfers.

Turkey package holidays

Because these places are still deemed safe to visit, tourists who have already booked a trip to Turkey, whether to the resorts or the cities, and now want to cancel their holiday due to the civil unrest, will be unlikely to get a refund. If you have booked a package, travel companies are under no obligation to find you an alternative holiday or give a refund in this case.

If you have bought a package holiday to Turkey, and the situation becomes so bad that the tour operator can no longer guarantee you a safe, secure and enjoyable holiday, then they may have to find you a suitable equivalent holiday or give a full refund, depending on the circumstances. If this happens while you are in the destination, the tour operator would have a responsibility to get you home.

Travel insurance and cancellations

People who have already booked flights and accommodation separately are more likely to lose out if the FCO later advises against travel to the destination. Scheduled airlines may still operate flights and refuse refunds for cancellations, and hotels that remain open may not issue a refund if you cancel.

So it is worth considering a travel insurance policy that provides cover for riots or other outbreaks of civil unrest. This is not standard in most policies, but you can see which companies do offer this in our comparison of unexpected events cover.

If the FCO has not advised against all essential travel to the area, insurance companies are unlikely to pay out if you decide to cancel or curtail your trip because of safety fears due to civil unrest.

More on this…

  • If you need to cancel your holiday, know your consumer rights
  • Travel insurance review – the comprehensive Which? guide to travel insurance
  • Find out which are the best and worst airlines in our airlines survey
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