The crisis in Turkey means tens of thousands of holidaymakers have had their travel plans thrown into chaos just as the peak holiday season is set to kick off.

In what has widely been described as a coup, there has been large scale military action in the country, with the army deployed to streets and widespread reports of gunfire and explosions in the major cities of Ankara and Istanbul.

While this is a fast moving story, here are your rights as we understand them on Saturday morning if you're going to the hugely popular tourist hotspot. But please double-check with your airline, travel agent or tour operator before acting on them.

Is it safe to travel to Turkey? What do the authorities say?

The official Foreign Office advice on Saturday morning is "we strongly advise you to stay indoors, avoid public places, in particular demonstrations, and remain vigilant".

This stops short of advising you not to travel at all to the country but clearly some will want to stay at home or change their plans.

The Foreign Office does, however, advise against travel to some remote regions. Stay updated via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.

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ABTA, the travel industry trade body, says the majority of British travellers to Turkey will fly directly to beach resorts on its south coast which are hundreds of miles away from the worst affected areas.

It estimates there are currently 50,000 people on holiday with its members in Turkey. 

Will my flight still go ahead?

A few flights have been cancelled, according to the Foreign Office, though most are still operating. ABTA says "holiday programmes to resort areas continue to operate".

It's best to check with your airline or tour operator first. Easyjet says it will "continue flying but this will be kept under review", British Airways says "we are keeping flights to Turkey under review", while Turkish Airlines says "our operations at Istanbul Ataturk Airport have gone back to routine conditions".

I want to cancel my flight. What are my rights?

Check with your airline as it may let you cancel as a gesture of goodwill, but technically you may still be bound to the terms of the flight, ie, if it's non-refundable you may not be able to get any money back.

Here are some published policies:

  • British Airways says if you're due to travel to/from Turkey on Sunday 17 or Monday 18 July you can rebook to travel on a future date.
  • Thomas Cook says it's offering free amendments and cancellations for all customers due to fly to Turkey on Saturday 16 July and Sunday 17 July.
  • Thomson says customers due to depart on Saturday and who no longer wish to travel can cancel and receive a full refund, or amend to another holiday.
  • Easyjet and Turkish Airlines had yet to reveal their cancellation policies as we published.

As new info can come out at any time, stay in touch with the British Airways, Easyjet, Thomson, Thomas Cook and Turkish Airlines websites.

Turkey crisis – your travel rights
A few flights have been cancelled, according to the Foreign Office, though most are still operating

I want to cancel my hotel or package. What are my rights?

As with flights, check with your hotel or tour operator in case they will let you make changes.

It may be easier to cancel with a package holiday, particularly given Thomas Cook and Thomson are claiming to be flexible.

If your hotel stay is refundable, as many are, then just simply cancel it with whoever you made the booking with.

You can also stay up-to-date via the ABTA website.

I'm in Turkey and want to come home early. What can I do?

Contact your airline or tour operator to check its policy. As you can see from the sections above, some firms allow changes, so you may be in luck, subject to availability.

Of course, given the tensions in Turkey, this is dependent on airports remaining open.

I still want to go. Will my travel insurance be valid?

Normally, insurance is still valid unless Foreign Office advice is not to travel somewhere. It's nevertheless worth contacting your insurer to check.

I want to cancel and can't get a refund. Will my travel insurance cover it?

Check with your insurer but be warned that many policies exclude cancellation due to political unrest, while some exclude cancellation altogether.

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