The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has repeated a warning for travellers intending to visit Turkey.
The latest warning from the FCO has been issued with the expectation that further demonstrations are to take place in cities across the country. There have also been reports that riot police have entered Istanbul’s Taksim Square, a main focus point in the two-week-long demonstration. The BBC has reported the use of tear gas and water cannon by the authorities, despite Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, having agreed to a meeting tomorrow with organisers of the protest.
The FCO has warned that two major pro-government rallies are scheduled to take place in Ankara and Istanbul this Saturday and Sunday (June 15 and 16) and in a statement it said, ‘Further demonstrations remain possible in cities across Turkey, week commencing June 10. Police may continue to use tear gas and water cannons to disperse protestors. We advise British Nationals to avoid all demonstrations.’
Despite the FCO’s warning, Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has said that tourists are safe to visit the country, with a spokesperson saying, ‘There are currently no problems being experienced with either transport or security in Istanbul or any of our tourism regions and thus every sort of touristic activity is carrying on as normal. Flights in and out of Turkey have not been affected by these events and are running as scheduled.
‘The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism continues to take every precaution regarding the safety of visitors to the country.’
The demonstrations, which were originally in protest at Turkish government plans to build on Taksim Square’s Gezi Park, have now adopted a wider agenda against perceived government authoritarianism and restrictions on sales of alcohol.