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Turkish Airlines resumes flights, though Canada advises against non-essential travel

OTTAWA — The Canadian government urged travellers to remain calm in Turkey amid a failed coup attempt last Friday, and advised Canadians not to travel to the country.

Global Affairs Canada has updated its website to include an advisory against non-essential travel to Turkey. A security update reads: “The Turkish government has regained control of the situation and restored calm throughout the country. However, the conditions remain volatile and the situation can change rapidly, especially in large cities. Expect an increased presence of security forces in large cities, and restrict your movements.”

It also encourages travellers currently in Turkey to “ensure that your travel documents are up to date, and keep abreast of the latest developments. Register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service and carefully follow messages issued through this service.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion advised Canadians in Turkey to stay indoors and avoid crowds and public gatherings. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also issued a statement late Friday, saying “We call for restraint by all parties. Canada supports the preservation of Turkish democracy and condemns any attempt to subvert Turkey’s democratic institutions by force of arms.”

The federal government is offering consular assistance to Canadians in Turkey, and Dion noted that government received more than 600 inquiries from Canadians on Friday and Saturday, either in Turkey or with family in Turkey, and have provided them with instructions and reassurance.

One day after the failed coup, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned all flight into and out of Turkey for U.S. aircraft due to security concerns.

“The FAA is monitoring the situation in Turkey in coordination with our partners in the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security and will update the restrictions as the situation evolves,” it said in a statement.

The order means that American travellers stranded in Turkey will not be able to travel directly back to the United States despite Istanbul’s Ataturk airport reopening, though it’s not clear how many American travellers it will affect. Delta, the last U.S. carrier that had scheduled service to the country, suspended its service from New York to Istanbul in the spring.

Turkey’s national carrier, Turkish Airlines, on Sunday said that it had cancelled approximately 200 flights, including a small number already for Monday, reports The Wall Street Journal. The airline cancelled hundreds of flights Saturday, though it did try to restore operations during the day on the request of the country’s president.

An official statement by the airline reads: “Upon the call of our President Y.E. Recept Tayyip Erdogan, our operations at Istanbul Ataturk Airport is now back to normal and flights have begun. As of the 16th of July by 14:30 (EEST) all our flight operations will resume as planned.”

Turkish Airlines is offering rebooking/rerouting at no extra charge, as well as refunds on unused and/or partially used tickets and an extension of ticket validity for affected flights. For more information go to turkishairlines.com/en-int/corporate/announcements/announcement/16-july-refund-rebooking-rights.

With file from The Canadian Press

To help travel agents reassure client concerns about the Coronavirus, TICO has issued a special Registrar Bulletin that includes relevant tips and information.

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