Turkey is a tourism paradise

I would like to start my piece by celebrating International Women’s Day and by reminding readers that although the EU is seemingly very sensitive to women’s rights, its sensitivity remains symbolic. It is the sad truth that the discriminatory practices that especially Muslim women are subjected to in Europe is not brought to the agenda even on Women’s Day.

In some European countries, discriminatory practices and rules are still in effect concerning to the clothing of Muslim women, which contradicts EU values. These countries, in which a woman wearing a headscarf or not is a determinant in employment and naturalization, are implausible when they hyperbolically celebrate International Women’s Day. Muslim women are unfortunately subjected to double standards, which is an issue I want to touch upon on this special day.

Currently, an important fair on tourism is ongoing in Berlin. Being one of the largest tourism trade fairs, the Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin (ITB Berlin) is the liveliest tourism market and is held every March.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who recently played a major role in the resolution of the crises Turkey has had with Germany and Austria with successful diplomatic initiatives, also attended ITB Berlin this year. Being a deputy representing Antalya in Parliament, Çavuşoğlu is from Alanya, which is a notable tourist destination. Antalya and Alanya are among the top tourist attractions in the country. Also, a considerable number of Germans happily live in Alanya. These destinations are heavenly places that are popular among Germans as they enjoy the beauty of the sea, nature, history and cultural events each season. Therefore, it is more than natural for Çavuşoğlu to support his country’s tourism professionals in Berlin. Having arrived in Berlin with this purpose, Çavuşoğlu also met German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel to discuss issues between the two countries, including tourism. Today, he is meeting Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl in Vienna, during which tourism will probably be brought up.

The foreign ministries of both Germany and Austria have done Turkey a great injustice when they released travel warnings about Turkey on their websites. Their warnings are based on unfounded claims, which above all disturb Turkish citizens who do not support the government. Although the tourist destinations Germans head to in Turkey mostly have demographic groups that do not support the government or ruling party, the Germans and Austrians visiting these locations are warned to not vocally criticize President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or the government. Germans and Austrians who have not been to Turkey before unfortunately believe these lies as their media has also engaged in propaganda recently.

The Foreign Ministries of Germany and Austria are prestigious institutions, so normally the inclusion of such baseless claims on their official websites disturbs experienced German and Austrian diplomats since they are familiar with Turkey and know the baselessness of such claims. I believe that it is high time to rectify this mistake.

Citing that he visited Germany during the formation phase of the new government in the country, Çavuşoğlu said the formation of the new government is of critical importance for the entirety of Europe as everyone acknowledges Germany’s place and role in the EU. He also said the number of German tourists visiting Turkey will increase this year, adding that the German Foreign Ministry should revise its travel warning. He said: “The latest warning does not reflect Turkey’s realities and the level of bilateral relations. Of course, every country has to show great care for its citizens’ security. We understand this, but the travel warning needs to be reviewed, especially during this trade fair season. I am asking my friend Sigmar to revise the warning one more time.”

Gabriel is quite familiar with Turkey’s tourist attractions such as Antalya, Alanya and Side. He knows that Germans visiting Turkey have peaceful and happy experiences in the country. Despite all the propaganda against Turkey, European tourists see that what they have been told about Turkey is not true when they visit the country.

In Turkey, not a single negative development regarding tourists has happened recently. On the contrary, tourists always enjoy Turkish hospitality. Being a tourism paradise, Turkey does not deserve such propaganda and unfounded travel warnings.