Turkish nationals in Britain wishing to return to Turkey have been advised to arrange their travel home quickly, hinting that a ban on flights between the two countries is imminent.
An announcement posted on the Turkish Embassy in London’s social media pages today has urged Turkish citizens currently in the United Kingdom for a short break, including those on holiday or to study, to arrange their return to Turkey “as soon as possible”.
The Embassy’s notice states that currently “no decision regarding Turkey-UK flights has been taken”.
However, given the fast-changing developments in tackling the “coronavirus pandemic”, which includes the ‘banning of international flights’, the Embassy is advising Turkish citizens currently on short trips to Britain to make swift arrangements to fly home.
A translation of the full statement from the Turkish Embassy is given below:
“Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, new measures are being taken every day, and international flights can be banned in this context too. To date, no decision regarding Turkey-UK flights has been taken. However, taking every possibility into consideration, those of our citizens currently on a short visit to the United Kingdom (for tourism, educational trips, language courses, and other similar reasons) are advised to return to Turkey as soon as possible”.
Büyükelçilik Duyurusu pic.twitter.com/ZYOqtxLXM6
— TurkishEmbassyLondon (@TurkEmbLondon) March 15, 2020
Any ban on UK-Turkey flights would also impact those wishing to reach the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) via Turkey.
The UK is the home of the second largest Turkish Cypriot Diaspora in the world and also where many of its foreign residents originate from. A lack of direct flights between the UK and North Cyprus means most travellers travel via Turkey.
Earlier this week, the Turkish Cypriot government announced it was limiting entry into the TRNC to just its citizens and those with valid residency permits. The government reaffirmed its position with a post on the TRNC Foreign Ministry’s social media pages on Saturday, 14 March, announcing an extension of the bans already in place following an emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers on Friday.
Point 4 of the seven listed states that:
“As of 02:00 AM on 14/03/2020 until 01/04/2020, only TRNC citizens and persons with legal residency can enter the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus from land, air, and seaports. This ban will remain in force on persons not falling within these two categories until 01/04/2020.”
Both Turkey and the TRNC have provided contact numbers for citizens and others in need of information and guidance during this coronavirus crisis period.
UK contact numbers for the Turkish Embassy and its Consular Offices
Turkish Republic London Embassy
Switchboard: +44 20 7393 0202 (For urgent out-of-hours contact call: + 44 7423 839577)
Turkish Republic London Consulate
Switchboard: +44 20 7591 6900 (For urgent out-of-hours contact call: + 44 7951 839879)
Turkish Republic Edinburgh Consulate
Switchboard: +44 13 1285 9282 ((For urgent out-of-hours contact call: + 44 7780 984144)
Emergency contact numbers of TRNC Missions worldwide
The TRNC Foreign Ministry has listed the emergency contact numbers of its Missions abroad, so its citizens can obtain up-to-date information due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the TRNC.
It advises that, “If there is no TRNC Mission where you are, please contact our Representative Office in the nearest country.”