Turkey announces boycott of conference held in Jerusalem

[ 13/10/2010 – 03:39 PM ]


ISTANBUL, (PIC)– Turkey announced it will boycott the Organization of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) conference on tourism Israel is gearing to stage in Jerusalem next week in protest of it being held in the holy city.

Turkey’s tourism and culture minister Ertugul Gunay told media on Tuesday that Turkey, which is a member of the OECD, will not take part or send any representative to the biannual tourism conference to be held in Jerusalem this Oct. 20, because its convening in Jerusalem has a political connotation that is inappropriate to the conference’s subject of tourism.

“Regrettable statements have been made before start of the (said) conference. We want tourism to take place, not politics,” Gunay said.

He added that not participating in the conference will send a clear message to the organizing party, referring to Israel, which became a member of OECD in May.

Also OECD members, Britain and Spain have taken similar steps as Turkey, but they confirmed that their decision not to join was to express opposition to holding a conference in Jerusalem to avoid complicating the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Observers believe the boycott will be Turkey’s first boycott on a multilateral level of ceremonies hosted by Israel after the Israeli attack on a flotilla that left 39 activists, most of them Turkish, dead and injured on May 31.

Turkey announces boycott of conference held in Jerusalem.

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