AKP’s failed policies hit tourism, CHP chair says

AKP’s failed policies hit tourism, CHP chair says

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AKP’s failed policies hit tourism, CHP chair says

DHA photo

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu blamed the government’s failed domestic and foreign policies for the sharp fall in Turkey’s tourism industry, during a parliamentary group meeting on June 21. 

Kılıçdaroğlu said he held a meeting with stakeholders in the country’s tourism sector over the weekend and listened to the gloomy picture painted by sector professionals. 

He said the only party with the political will to resolve the ongoing crisis was the CHP, adding the right way to start coping with the issue was to ask why tourists no longer preferred Turkey.

“The fundamental reason why tourists no longer come to Turkey is Turkey’s damaged international image,” Kılıçdaroğlu told his party’s members.

“Turkey does not look like a modern country. There is no democracy [or] rule of law in Turkey; there is a dictatorial regime in Turkey,” he added, pointing out that news about Turkey in any given foreign country mentions human rights violations.

The CHP chair dismissed the argument that the only reason for the decline was the country’s strained relations with Russia, after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet on Nov. 24, 2015, for violating Turkish airspace. 

“When we set out from these facts, okay, we had a fight with Russia. But we did not have a fight with Germany, with France, with England, why don’t they come?” Kılıçdaroğlu inquired, citing Turkey’s damaged international reputation as the reason. 

He also said the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) continued to not refrain from inflicting further harm on the country’s image, as three prominent activists were arrested on June 20 on charges of making terror propaganda.

“Now I want to ask that judge: If you are searching for those who aided and abetted the terror organization [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party - PKK], these gentlemen live in Ankara. All are in Ankara,” Kılıçdaroğlu stated, criticizing the arrests of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (THİV) head Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu and journalist Ahmet Nesin for serving as editors-in-chief for daily Özgür Gündem for one day. 

The party leader also called on tradesmen to “ask their conscience” about why they were troubled and take action to put an end to the “political understanding” that constituted the root of the sector’s problems.