Bahattin Yücel welcomed President Erdogan’s letter of apologies to Russia as an “important and positive step,” but was pessimistic about any overnight rebound in his country’s tourism industry, hard hit by the recent crisis in bilateral relations.
“Our tourism sector needs serious help. Despite the thaw in our relations with Russia, the 2016 tourist season has already been lost. Russian tourists normally return home already before August is out. During the period between May 1 and 15, when the summer season is normally planned out, our resorts were empty and remained so until the very end of June,” Bahattin Yücel said.
He also mentioned the economic downturn in Russia and, above all, the loss by Turkey of its image of a safe and secure place.
“Security is the biggest problem now. Turkey is seen by the world as a country that provides logistical support to terrorist groups like Daesh. Moreover, Turkey’s image has seriously suffered as a result of the numerous violations of human rights and freedoms. It is not the state’s business to tell people what to wear, what to eat and how many kids to have,” the ex-Minister said in conclusion.