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The Traveller's Magazine
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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has warned British travellers to avoid areas where violent protests continue to happen including central Istanbul and Taksim Square and across Turkey.

Turkey is making the headlines in newspapers around the world this morning as fires continue to burn, barricades continue to be set up and protesters continue to raise their voices as police try their best to keep the calm with tear gas and water canons. Violent protests spread across the country over the weekend in response to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian government.

The latest update from the FCO advises Britons to avoid any kind of demonstration while on holidays in Istanbul and Turkey,

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.

Turkey is a stable democracy. Demonstrations occur regularly in major cities and in Kurdish areas. Taksim Square and Istiklal Street are typical gathering points in Istanbul. Demonstrations can turn violent and the police sometimes use tear gas. You should avoid all demonstrations and to leave the area if one develops.

On Saturday police used water cannons and tear gas to stop anyone trying to cross Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge in the direction of Taksim Square, where a major protest was taking place. Some estimate as many as 40,000 people gathered in the square and on the bridge.

Ortakˆy Mosque and the Bosphorus Bridge

In a report from BBC news, correspondents say they “fear Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is trying to impose conservative Islamic values on the officially secular country and infringe on their personal freedoms.” It was just last month that Turkish Airlines banned female flight attendants from wearing brightly coloured lipstick although that ban was later lifted after female rights groups attacked the airline for their decision.

For more information on visiting Turkey and the current travel advice, visit:

Imgs: Wajahat Mahmood / Flickr cc. and AFP

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