Antalya district mayors say they weren’t allowed to go abroad for Moscow fair due to state of emergency
ANTALYA - Doğan News Agency
AFP photoA number of district mayors from opposition parties in the Mediterranean Turkish province of Antalya have said they were not allowed to go abroad to attend a key recent tourism event in Moscow due to the ongoing state of emergency.
Mayors from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said they were not able to receive necessary approval from the Interior Ministry to attend the Turkey Festival in the Russian capital.
Antalya Governor Münir Karaloğlu had around three months ago recommended that all district mayors from Antalya attend the event. However, the mayors of the Muratpaşa, Alanya, Döşemaltı and Kemer districts were not able to get the required approval from the ministry to go to Moscow, despite allocating a budget for their stands at the fair.
As a result, they had to send lower level officials to attend in their place after not getting a green light from the authorities.
Muratpaşa Mayor Ümit Uysal, from the CHP, said the decision was “quite surprising.”
“As mayors, we should have attended the fair. It is interesting to be not allowed to go abroad even to attend fairs. But nothing surprises us anymore,” Uysal said, adding that he did not understand why they were not permitted to go abroad due to the state of emergency.
Alanya Mayor Adem Murat Yücel, from the MHP, had earlier announced that he would be attending the fair, but he was also not allowed.
“There is nothing to say. The Antalya governor wanted us to be there and coordinated accordingly. We paid $60,000 in order to rent stands. But in the end we were not allowed to go there, without any solid explanation,” Yücel said.
Kemer Mayor Mustafa Gül, from the CHP, said the failure to go the fair represented a big missed opportunity, as Kemer is one of the most visited destinations by Russian tourists.
Döşemaltı Mayor Turgay Genç, from the CHP, said he had to send his deputies to Moscow in his place.
“We are elected by our people. It is not good for us to be forced to get the approval of the authorities to go abroad as if we are potential criminals, because if someone is being tried at court they are banned on leaving the country. The Moscow event was of great importance for us and for Antalya as a whole. I really do not understand why we were not allowed to attend the fair,” said Genç.