10,000 Iranian Tourists Stranded in Turkey

10,000 Iranian Tourists Stranded in Turkey10,000 Iranian Tourists Stranded in Turkey

The fallout from the failed army coup attempt in Turkey has stranded 10,000 Iranian tourists in the crisis-hit Near East country.

Following an attempt by a faction of the Turkish military to topple the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, Iran canceled all flights to and from Turkey and placed an indefinite ban on tours to the popular destination.

While Iranians were not harmed in the coup attempt, the unrest left more than 260 people dead.

“Due to a state of emergency in Turkey caused by security issues, and in accordance with statements issued by the Foreign Ministry and Iran’s diplomatic mission in Turkey, tour operators are banned from organizing tours to Turkey,” read a statement issued on Saturday by Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

The consequences of the unrest in Iran’s neighboring country have led to the stranding of approximately 10,000 Iranians with no way to return home and possibly out of money, the Iranian media report.

The ICHHTO said in the statement that it is “working with the Foreign Ministry and Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization to ensure the safe return of Iranian nationals.”

On Saturday, Kourosh Fattahi, deputy for airport affairs at the Imam Khomeini International Airport, was quoted as saying by ISNA that plans are underway to gradually return Iranians by sending passenger-less planes to Turkey.

  Cancellation Policy

The ban on tours and flights to Turkey means many will have to cancel their trips. However, tourists are entitled to a full refund from travel agencies and will incur no cancellation fees, because the coup that unfolded in Turkey is considered force majeure.

However, those who are already in Turkey but were supposed to return on Friday may run into trouble.

“Tourists are expected to shoulder a portion of the costs until they can safely return, but there are those who were supposed to return on Friday and had not planned to stay longer, so they may be out of money,” Vali Teymouri, the head of the Monitoring and Assessment of Tourism Services at ICHHTO, was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

“In situations like this, tour operators sometimes agree to cover the accommodation costs, while they may also try to reach an agreement with hotels to offer lodging to tourists at reduced prices.”

This is while Ali Rafiei, deputy for tourism at the Tehran office of ICHHTO, says that in such conditions, “it is customary for countries to work something out, and Turkey will no doubt strive to ensure the safety of foreign tourists.”