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What travelers to Turkey need to know

A view of the damaged Gaziantep Castle in Turkey after the devastating earthquake on February 6, 2023.

(CNN) — After a devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, claiming the lives of thousands of people and injuring many more, there will be questions for those who had been planning to travel to region in coming days and weeks.

Turkey is a major tourism destination, attracting 44.6 million foreign arrivals in 2022, according to Turkish government statistics, and many would-be visitors will have travel booked to key resorts and cities, particularly in popular coastal winter sun destinations.

The 7.8-magnitude quake hit near to the town of Gaziantep in southeast Turkey, close to the Syrian border, at around 4.17 a.m. local time, and was followed by a number of aftershocks.

Thousands of buildings have collapsed as a result.

So far, US travelers have been advised to “avoid travel to areas affected by the earthquake,” while the UK Foreign Office is instructing citizens to “avoid the immediate vicinity” of the incident.

For the most part, travel to the leading tourism destinations — mostly far from the quake-hit areas — remain unaffected, however there will inevitably be some impact in a country that is now in a three-month state of national emergency.

Here’s what we know so far:

What areas have been affected by the earthquake?

A view of the damaged Gaziantep Castle in Turkey after the devastating earthquake on February 6, 2023.

Mehmet Akif Parlak/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Approximately 10 Turkish provinces have been impacted by the quake, which was one of the strongest to hit the region in more than a century — Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Sanliurfa.

The ancient Gaziantep Castle, one of the Turkish city’s most renowned landmarks, was severely damaged due to the earthquake.

“Some of the bastions in the east, south and southeast parts of the historical Gaziantep Castle in the central Şahinbey district were destroyed by the earthquake, the debris was scattered on the road,” reported Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu.

The city of Aleppo, already ravaged by 11 years of civil war, was among the most affected areas of northwestern Syria, where more than four million people were already relying on humanitarian assistance.

Have flights to Turkey been canceled?

At the time of writing, international airlines were still operating flights to and from Turkey.

However, Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier airline of Turkey, has canceled hundreds of flights over the last few…

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