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Amidst row, tourism minister tells Israelis not to travel to Turkey

Turkey recorded stellar growth of 7.4 percent in 2017 but the data have failed to douse fears over the underlying health of the economy which is marked by double-digit inflation, a wide current account deficit, a weak currency and high corporate debt
FETHI BELAID (AFP/File)
Turkey experienced a massive spike in tourism from Israel starting in 2013, when ties between the two warmed

Following a diplomatic crisis with Turkey over the recent violence in Gaza, Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin has urged people looking to travel to Turkey from doing so, stating that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was leading his country to ‘crazy extremism.’

“I recommend [to Israelis] not to travel to Turkey, and I would say this even before the recent events. As long as this is the attitude from the Turks, there is no reason for us to go there,” Deri told Ynet.

“Israel has no interest in severing trade ties with Turkey, but traveling to Turkey gives income to the Turks and I do not think we should insist on going there.”

Turkey had experienced a massive spike in tourism from Israel starting in 2013, when ties between the two countries warmed after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly apologized to Erdoğan over the 2010 flotilla boat raid by Israeli forces, in which 10 Turks were killed on a ship attempting to break the blockade on Gaza.

From 2013 to 2016, Israeli tourism to Turkey increased by roughly 80 percent, with 293,988 Israelis visiting Turkey by 2016. The Turkish Minister of Culture Nabi Avcı said that he would like to see 600,000 tourists from Israel, and said that “the Turkish government welcomes Israeli tourists with open arms.” However, the recent diplomatic quagmire has threatened to cut heavily into those numbers.

The row began when Erdoğan told Turkish students in London Monday, when he called Israel a ‘terror state’ and referring to what Israel did in Gaza as a ‘genocide.’ Turkey then recalled its ambassadors from the United States and Israel, and expelled the Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Eitan Na’eh.

Whilst Na’eh was due to return home, he was subjected to a strict security screening at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, a process the Turkish press was allowed to film. The Israeli Foreign Ministry called the event a ‘humiliation,’ and then proceeded to do the same for Turkey’s chargé d’affairs Umut Deniz.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu responded to Erdoğan’s comments, stating that the Turkish leader was involved in ‘terrorism and slaughter.’

“A man who sends thousands of Turkish soldiers to maintain the occupation of Northern Cyprus and invades Syria will preach to us as we defend ourselves from infiltration attempt by Hamas,” Netanyahu said, in a statement.

“A man whose hands are stained with the blood of countless Kurdish citizens in Turkey and Syria is the last to preach to us about military ethics.”

Meanwhile, in London Tuesday, Erdoğan met with Neturei Karta, an extremist, ultra-Orthodox Jewish group which rejects Israel and Zionism. Their members have participated in many protests against Israel, including attending a Holocaust denial conference in Tehran.

On Wednesday, a pair of Israeli journalists--the Palestinian affairs correspondent for Hadashot TV news, Ohad Hemo, and his cameraman, Oded Binowere--were attacked in Istanbul’s Taksim Square.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s son, Yair Netanyahu, joined the conversation Wednesday by posting an image on Instagram that read “F*** Turkey,” with the ‘C’ styled in the form of the Islamic crescent in the Turkish flag.

In the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, bills recognizing the Armenian Genocide were introduced by members of both the opposition Zionist Union party and the right-wing Likud party. The bill would legally acknowledge the 1915 genocide, in which 1.5 million Armenians were killed at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, for his part, led the attack on Erdoğan, criticizing the Turkish president for polarizing the relationship between Israel and Turkey.

“For years, we have seen Erdoğan lead [Turkey] to crazy extremism. All our attempts to reach an understanding with them, we even signed a reconciliation agreement, in which we all had to swallow nausea pills before we agreed,” Levin told Ynet.

“Unfortunately, there is a leader in Turkey who repeatedly exploits the Israeli issue in order to create headlines and try to enlist support before elections. I would not have seperate the steps he took from the fact that Turkey will hold elections.”

“Perhaps when the Erdoğan era is over, we will see a leadership that will put the interests of the Turks at the center.”

Read more:

'F*** Turkey,' Netanyahu's son says

Turkey, South Africa pull ambassadors from Israel over Gaza deaths

Israel summons Turkish diplomat over press coverage of envoy's expulsion

In escalation of diplomatic tit-for-tat, Turkey expels Israel's Istanbul consul

Comments

(1)

excellent. about time Israel recognized these insane turds genocide of Armenians. now the US must do the same.

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