The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the government authority that is responsible for providing assistance for British tourists overseas, has issued a travel warning for UK citizens intending to visit Turkey.
The warning comes in the wake of a wave of anti-government demonstrations that have been taking place over the weekend with escalating violence both from the protestors and the law enforcement officers. With in-excess of 1,700 people arrested during protests that have spread to 67 Turkish towns and cities, the FCO has advised all British nationals that visit the country to avoid any areas where demonstrations are taking place for their own safety.
The major cities of Istanbul and Ankara have witnessed the bulk of the violence, which first broke out on Friday. The police have responded to missiles thrown from the crowds and the burning of cars with tear gas and water cannons. As a result of the violence, the Turkish Doctor’s Association said that its members have treated in excess of 484 wounded protestors.
An update of the FCO’s travel advice that was issued on Saturday said, ‘Following recent demonstrations in Istanbul and other cities in Turkey, in which police used tear gas and water cannons, the possibility of further demonstrations remains high. We advise British nationals to avoid all demonstrations.’
The protest grew out of an initial peaceful gathering in Gezi Park, Istanbul, as a demonstration against the park being developed to create a shopping centre. However, as the protest gained momentum it was joined by large crowds, angry at the government’s increasingly authoritarian stance, perceived as Islamist, and which has also seen recent restrictions on the sale of alcohol.
Holidaymakers visiting the UK’s Dorset coast have been warned to be extra vigilant after a 22-year old woman died yesterday when she was caught in a landslide beneath the county’s famous coastal cliffs.
The landslide, on a stretch of cliffs near Burton Bradstock, claimed the life of Charlotte Blackman, a Derbyshire resident who was out walking with her boyfriend and her father. The two men were also trapped in the 35-foot deep pile of rubble, which gave way just after 12.30pm yesterday.
The accident has resulted in warnings being issued to other holidaymakers in the area to take care when in the vicinity of the coastal cliffs, as it is believed that more landslides are possible due to the terrain having been made unstable by the current hot, dry weather, following on the heels of a prolonged period of rain.
A statement on a visitor information website for the area, www.jurassiccoast.com, reads, ‘There is a heightened risk of rock falls anywhere and at any time along the coast while landslides have delivered thick mudflows and quicksands to the beaches in many places. One of the hidden hazards is that the sea can wash sand and shingle over the mud and quicksand giving the appearance of a solid beach, which is why we advise people to stay well clear of these hazards’.
Dorset Council said that, ‘due to concerns about continuing land stability in the area following the exceptional wet weather,’ the western end of the Esplanade at West Bay, near Burton Bradstock, was closed at the weekend.
The area is a World Heritage Site, dubbed the Jurassic Coast due to its cliffs dating back 250 million years, and the frequency with which prehistoric fossils are found there.
Severe weather warnings issued across UK.
Warnings have been given to many parts of Britain and Ireland by the Met Office.
Gail force winds hit the UK over night and in Scotland warnings for snow and winds of up to 100mph.
Wales has also been hit by winds and torrential rain, with a number of roads blocked by blown down trees.
Travel in Northern Ireland has seen disruption with warnings of storm-force winds of up to 90mph.
The conditions lead to a number of East Coast main line trains between London and Scotland had to begin and end in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Flooding and a dramatic drop in temperature are expected in many parts of Wales and north-west England.