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Friday, 03 July 2020 00:00

Travelling to Turkey under the cloud of Coronavirus

Coronavirus - Covid-19 Coronavirus - Covid-19

Speculation is rife on how Coronavirus or Covid-19 will impact Kalkan this season.  It's not a question of if there will be an impact but how bad it will be.

Locals reliant on tourism are hoping and possibly praying for the best but can't avoid thinking about the dire consequences of a season lost.

Those Brits who would dearly love to come to Kalkan this year are carefully weighing up the risks and contemplating the unimaginable - a staycation.

Flight operators already reeling from the seismic shockwaves rippling through their industry are working through the logistical challenges of recommencing flights.  If some of us are worried about jump-starting our cars that have been idle for months imagine the scale of the task with furloughed staff and a fleet of aircraft.

Meanwhile the Turkish and UK governments have the unenviable job of balancing the need to keep their citizens safe whilst at the same time minimising the economic impact of the virus, which clearly has serious implications for livelihoods.

Over recent months the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised British nationals against all but essential international travel.  This has meant that the number of travellers between the UK and Turkey has slowed to a trickle.  Those numbers include a small number of expats who have managed to get back to Turkey; some by extraordinarily circuitous routes.  But things are about to change.

Green light to travel
British nationals longing to come to Kalkan on holiday have quite literally been waiting for the green light to go.  The first thing they needed was UK FCO advice to change so that non-essential international travel is approved.  Apart from anything else it means that travel insurance will work.  Insurers tend not to like it if you travel against government advice. 

This long awaited change has now been announced with a list of countries that are exempt from travel restrictions.  Turkey is on the list of exempt countries.

The UK government is now comfortable with non-essential travel to a number of countries including Turkey with effect from Saturday 4th July.  And importantly it will not be necessary to undergo 14 days quarantine when returning to England from holiday after 10th July.  Scotland, Wales and Northern Island will determine their own rules on quarantine.  Click here for the official details from the UK government.

For the record there is no quarantine requirement when you arrive in Turkey on holiday, or when returning as a resident.

Personal risk factors
But even with this green light from government travellers still have to weigh up the risks for their own personal circumstances.  Many Kalkan holidaymakers are in an age bracket that means they are a higher Covid-19 risk.  Some may have medical conditions that require them to be shielded.  And others may have concerns about how they would cope if they were unfortunate enough to get the virus a long way from home. 

We have spoken with a local doctor who has confirmed that in Kalkan nobody has tested positive for Coronavirus, which is great news but the virus is still out there in the world.  It has not gone away.

In our survey last month 25% of respondents said they would not be coming to Kalkan in 2020.  That leaves a significant proportion who do intend to come.  Furthermore 69% said they would be willing to come to Kalkan out of season rather than miss out completely, subject to flight availability. 

Special Coronavirus Health Insurance
If you are coming to Turkey the Turkish government has arranged for Coronavirus health insurance cover to be made available for foreign visitors through Güneş Sigorta.  This is optional not mandatory.

Güneş Sigorta

The maximum period you can insure for is 30 days.  Premiums vary according to the number of days cover you require.  Below we give examples of premiums for one and two weeks cover.

Premiums for Covid-19 medical expenses (per person)

  • Claim limit 3,000 € - 1 week 15 €, 2 weeks 23 €
  • Claim limit 5,000 € - 1 week 19 €, 2 weeks 38 €
  • Claim limit 7,000 € - 1 week 23 €, 2 weeks 46 €

A few key points:

The policy is not available to people aged over 65 and it is intended for foreign visitors not expats - hence the 30 day limit.

The policy pays all medical costs incurred in all hospitals designated as ‘pandemic hospitals’ (both state and private) for Covid-19 related treatment only, including ICU costs.  All other medical expenses are not covered.

In the event that the insured is in intensive care before the policy expiry date, the treatment continues for a maximum of 10 days, even if the policy has expired.

You can obtain cover at Turkish airports but perhaps the simplest way to get covered is to apply online.  You can apply for a policy online here:

The above web page also has full terms and conditions and FAQs. 

Please note this is not regular travel insurance.  It is simply to cover medical costs incurred as a result of contracting Coronavirus, and even then the amount of cover is limited. 

In these unusual times it's probably not a bad idea to check the small print in your travel insurance policy to make sure you understand the extent of your cover.  You can read this UK FCO web page about the importance of travel insurance.

Whatever you decide to do this year stay safe everyone.  Güvende ol.

If you want to keep up with the very latest official UK FCO advice click here or check out the permanent link at the bottom of every KTLN page.


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