Hoteliers assure Britons of no ISIS threat

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 18.06.2015 22:35

A hoteliers' association in southwestern Turkey with popular vacation destinations for British tourists, reacted to reports by a British tabloid that vacation resorts were under the threat of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

The tabloid had claimed that holidaymakers visiting beach resorts in southwestern Turkey were at risk of abduction, suicide bombings and rocket attacks, citing a travel advice issued by the British Foreign Office.

Turkey indeed witnessed terror attacks in the past, though ISIS, which controls areas in Turkey's neighbors Iraq and Syria, has not carry out any attacks in the country, save for an attack by three suspects linked to the group at a security checkpoint in central Turkey last year that killed three people.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Bülent Bülbüloğlu, the head of Southern Aegean Association of Hoteliers (GETOB), said they contacted British tour operators after the news reports emerged and they were assured that few customers considered the reports serious. He said such reports were "not nice" though he believed they would not lead tourists to change their minds in picking Turkey as a destination. "Once they visit, British tourists are convinced that this is a safe place. Such news reports do not especially affect holidaymakers who have been visiting Turkey for years and know about our country," he said.

Several terrorist organizations such as the PKK and Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) are active in Turkey and the British Consulate in Istanbul was the target of a bombing in 2003 that was blamed on al-Qaida. But vacation resorts highly popular among British, as well as German and Russian tourists, have never been the target of any attacks by any terrorist organization.

On the other hand, Turkey is one of the gateways for foreign fighters looking to join ISIS in Syria, especially from Europe who travel to Turkey under the guise of tourists to sneak into Syria.

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