Turkish coup attempt fails to dissuade tourism

By Liao Fangzhou Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/2 17:43:39

The July 15 military coup attempt in Turkey did not affect the country's transportation or tourist sectors, the Consulate General of Turkey in Shanghai announced during a recent meeting with local journalists regarding the aftermath of the failed attempt to unseat Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey, however, is now in the middle of a three-month state of emergency to "take the most efficient steps in order to remove this threat as soon as possible," Acting Consul General of Turkey in Shanghai Tugrul Kusoglu said.

Kusoglu added that neither Turkish citizens nor foreign businessmen or tourists have been affected by the emergency and that airports and tourist attractions are "functioning as normal."

"The country has not banned access to any places and the safety of foreign visitors is guaranteed. We have not imposed stricter safety checks on foreigners or Turkish citizens," Kusoglu said.

He denied rumors that Istanbul is trying to boost its declining tourism numbers by not charging admission fees to its tourist attractions, as some recent news report by China Business Network suggested. "The originally free ones remain free," he said simply.

Blue Mosque in Istanbul Photos: CFP

Sympathetic people

The Turkish Embassy in Beijing posted an announcement by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism on July 22, saying "The state of emergency will not affect the daily lives of Turkish citizens or visitors traveling to Turkey, and it does not include restrictions to fundamental rights and freedoms. The measures will not involve any limitations regarding international tourism and aviation traffic."

Kusoglu stressed that the Turkish government defines the recent coup attempt as a "terrorist attack" by what the government is calling "Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization," namely people linked to Erdogan's former ally and exile cleric Fethullah Gulen.

In a recent interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Gulen, who has lived in exile in Pennsylvania, the US, since he left Turkey in 1999, conceded that there could have been some "sympathetic people" to him among the coup attempt. Meanwhile, he clearly denied direct connection.

Erdogan imposed a three-month state of emergency following the coup attempt to "take the most efficient steps in order to remove this threat as soon as possible." Kusoglu compared this move to that in France after the terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice.

Erdogan supporters rally in Cologne, Germany after failed Turkey coup. Photos: CFP

Emergent state

The objective of the current emergency state is to purge suspected members linked to the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization. Thus far, more than 13,000 suspects have been detained and over 50,000 others terminated from their positions in the military, legislative bodies, policing systems and educational institutions.

Students who are currently enrolled at Turkish universities that have been temporarily closed down will be assigned to other universities, said Kusoglu. He admitted there is "not yet a concrete plan" for their relocation.

Diplomatic circles, he said, have not been affected. "The emergent state is to ensure a faster, more efficient, investigation. If the fired people are proved innocent they will be re-posted to other positions," Kusoglu explained.

He added that the Turkish government investigated the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization back in December 2013, and that arrests and suspensions taking place refers to that investigation.
Newspaper headline: Aftermath

Posted in: Metro Shanghai, Consulate

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