Turkey started to improve diplomatic relations with Israel and Russia. The improving ties with both Israel and Russia would have a very positive impact on the tourism sector, despite the current terror attack.
On Monday, June 27, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter of apology to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Erdogan he extended condolences to the family of the pilot killed in the November 2015 downing of the Russian warplane in Turkish airspace and expressed interest in the normalisation of relations.
In a telephone conversation held on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to work towards the normalisation of bilateral relations.
On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced that Israel’s security cabinet approved on June 29 an agreement with Turkey that will allow the two countries to restore full diplomatic relations following a six-year hiatus.
Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel were suspended in 2010 after Israeli forces raided a convoy of aid ships attempting to break the blockade of Gaza, killing nine Turkish activists. Israel will pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims.
Due to regional and global crises, bilateral problems with these countries, and terror attacks Turkey’s tourism industry badly hurt. The number of foreign arrivals to Turkey slumped by 34.7 percent in May compared to the same month of 2015 to 2.49 million, according to data released by the Tourism Ministry on June 28. This marked the steepest decline since the 1990s. The number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey declined by around 92 percent to 41,004 in May compared to the same month of 2015.
With the gradual improvement with Russia and Israel, Turkish tourism industry expects a dramatic rise in the number of tourists.
Basaran Ulusoy and Osman Ayik, head of the Travel Agencies Association of Turkey (TÜRSAB) hand the Hoteliers’ Federation of Turkey (TÜROFED) respectively, said that they expect a dramatic rise in the number of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey. Osman Ayik said that the target from this market should be 1 million tourists.
Turkish Hoteliers’ Association (TÜROB) President Timur Bayındır said that the improving ties with both Israel and Russia would have a very positive impact on the sector.