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Officials call for continued caution on part of Czechs in Turkey

 
photo:  (radio.cz)
 

Following the failed military coup in Turkey flights from Prague to Istanbul were cancelled on Saturday. Normal service was soon resumed and the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs now says that the situation in Turkey is stable. However, officials have issued a fresh call on Czechs in the country to exercise vigilance.

 

A dramatic coup attempt by elements of the Turkish army on Friday night left nearly 300 people dead and captured news headlines around the world.

Following a crisis meeting at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday, Minister Lubomír Zaorálek advised Czechs against travelling to Ankara, Istanbul or southeastern Turkey.

He warned visitors to other regions to be cautious and avoid crowded places and called on Czechs in Turkey to register with the ministry’s database of travelers.

Mr. Zaorálek also said the government was prepared to take swift action to evacuate Czechs, if necessary. Around 7,000 are currently in Turkey, the vast majority at seaside resorts.

Two flights from Prague to Istanbul were cancelled on Saturday but regular service resumed that evening.

Jan Papež, the deputy chairman of the Association of Czech Travel Agencies, told Czech Television that customers rethinking plans to visit Turkey would not lose out financially – and that most visitors to the country have been unaffected by the unfolding events.

“Istanbul and Ankara have been declared, including by the foreign ministry, as places Czechs should not go. Travel agencies fully respect this and will postpone people’s trips or provide refunds. As for resorts, they are completely safe. Visitors haven’t even registered any increased activity on the part of the police or army – everything is completely as normal.”

On Monday morning a Czech Foreign Ministry working group issued a statement reiterating that travelers should avoid Istanbul, Ankara and the southeast.

The situation is now stable and the government is not planning to dispatch special planes to ferry Czechs home, officials at the Černín Palace said.

However, they should still be careful, said spokesperson Irena Valentová.

“We recommend increased vigilance and that people continue to remain at their resorts. They should not travel to places where there is a high concentration of people or attend sports or cultural events. They shouldn’t visit big cities on their own or, for instance, go to markets.”

Meanwhile, Minister Zaorálek on Monday attended a meeting of European Union foreign ministers which focused in large part on the Turkish coup attempt and its aftermath.

 
 
Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
 
Added: 18.07.2016
 
 
 

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