The number of people visiting Turkeyhas pushed Turkey near Italy in the world's most visited destinations chart, as tourists reached an all-time high of 37 million in 2014, Culture and Tourism Minister Omer Çelik said yesterday. Speaking in an exclusive interview, Çelik said that Turkey managed to attract 5.5 percent more tourists in 2014 compared to the previous year despite the political and geopolitical crises around the region. "In 2014, the number of foreigners visiting our country rose to 36.8 million from 34.9 million with a 5.5 percent increase compared to the previous year," said Çelik. Pointing out that there are Turkish citizens who reside in Europe and visit Turkey each year, Çelik said that this year their numbers are roughly expected to reach 5 million. "If we add this, the number of Turkey's visitors will come close to 42 million. This is a significant record. We progressing toward becoming the fifth most visited country, from our current sixth ranked position," Çelik said. According to a World Tourism Organization 2014 report, Turkey ranks as the sixth most popular destination after Italy which ranks fifth with over 47 million visitors.