Turkey situation still volatile, British travellers warned


The unrest in Turkey is being monitored by the British government as the country aims to restore stability in the wake of the attempted military coup, Downing Street has said.

British holidaymakers have been urged to exercise caution in the coastal resort of Marmaris, where gunfire has been heard as the Turkish government cracks down on suspected perpetrators. 

Similar action against alleged plotters has also been reported in Konya, Van and at Sabiha Gokcen airport in Istanbul, the Foreign Office said. 

Some 6,000 suspects and opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been arrested, Turkey's justice minister Bekir Bozdag said, following a night of bloody conflict on Friday.

The Government's emergency Cobra committee met on Sunday morning to discuss the aftermath of the failed armed uprising, which claimed the lives of at least 294 people. 

Close co-operation will be maintained with the Turkish government, while efforts to assist Britons stranded abroad will become a main focus, the committee said. 

Flights to the UK from the troubled country have begun to return to normal and the Government confirmed the backlog of passengers was starting to ease.

The Foreign Office said in its travel advice that the situation was "calming" but could still be "volatile".

It advised British tourists to avoid public places, especially demonstrations, in Ankara and Istanbul, and to follow the advice of authorities. 

They said coastal resorts other than Marmaris do not appear to be significantly affected.

Tanks rolled through the streets of major Turkish cities, while jets tore across the skies when a dissident section of the military rose up against Mr Erdogan.

Thousands of people were left injured by explosions and running gun battles between loyal forces and the rebel group in cities including Ankara and Istanbul, as the incident developed throughout Friday night.

The attempted uprising was eventually suppressed after civilians also flooded the streets in defence of the government, and state forces managed to regain control.

Mr Erdogan moved swiftly and ruthlessly against those suspected of involvement in Friday's bloodshed, purging nearly 3,000 judges seen as loyal to an exiled cleric, Fethullah Gulen, blamed by the president for galvanising the military faction.

The Turkish leader also said on Sunday that he might move to reinstate capital punishment - abolished in 2004 as the country made efforts to join the EU. 

Speaking at a funeral in Istanbul on Sunday, he vowed to "clean all state institutions of the virus" of Gulen supporters.