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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Turkey recalls its tourism attache

Once upon a time, religious Israelis mocked secular Israelis for having their holidays in Turkey rather than in Israel. No more. After a glitzy bus advertising campaign this past summer yielded nothing (that's what this article omits), Turkey has decided to recall its tourism attache from Tel Aviv (Hat Tip: Joshua I).
Turkey recalled its tourism attache, Inanc Ozcakmak, from Tel Aviv on Thursday, with the intention of closing the office in the near future.

The move was viewed as yet another installment of Turkey's diplomatic offensive against Israel, which began in May 2010 after Israel refused to apologize for their raid on the Gaza-bound Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, during which nine Turkish nationals died.


Turkish officials claimed that the decision to recall the attache was in response to what they say is an Israeli ban on Israeli tourists to Turkey. To date, Israel has warned its citizens that traveling to Turkey could pose dangers, but have not issued any sort of official restriction.

According to the Turkish officials, the Turkish government felt there was no need to keep a tourism attache in Tel Aviv, with an annual budget of $1.5 million, if Israeli tourists would not visit Turkey.

Until two years ago, Israeli tourism in Turkey flourished, with more than half a million tourists visiting Turkey each year. Turkey's tourism office in Tel Aviv handled all the bureaucratic work associated with the tourist programs.
This sounds more like Turkey realizes that its money could be better spent elsewhere than part of a diplomatic offensive by Erdogan. Kudos to my fellow Israelis for not going there.

By the way, how many Turks have ever visited Israel?

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At 7:28 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Turkey has decided it doesn't need Israel. Israelis will be spending their vacations in Cyprus and Greece where they're welcome.

It was a beautiful friendship... while it lasted!


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