Anti-Israel rally in Ankara
Under the title, "We must beat them through their pockets and boycott the Turkish hotel industry," an email distributed over the internet in recent days calls on Israelis to boycott Turkey as a tourist destination due to Ankara's response to the events in Gaza and in southern Israel, as well as the mass demonstrations held in the country against the Israeli operation in the Strip.
The email includes a short caption: "No more Turkey!!!! No more traveling to Turkey!!! !!! !!! !! The Turks should go search for their friends in Gaza – we're not coming."
As proof, the email includes a photo taken at a store in Turkey where a sign in English reads, "For children killers Israelis no sale, no entry."
Sign hung above clothing store in southern city of Alanya; Israeli tourist who photographed sign: Even on the way back to the cruise ship someone asked me if I was a soldier and if I enjoy killing children
The only problem is that the photo does not reflect the response on the Turkish street to the recent events in the Gaza Strip and to the IDF offensive, as it was taken two and a half years ago. The sign was photographed by an Israeli tourist named Nimrod Buchman in the city of Alanya on August 2006. The event was reported by Ynet.
The Turkish Embassy said at the time that the sign had been removed shortly after it was put up following an order by local authorities, and that those responsible for hanging it faced legal measures. The embassy added that business owners in the area had condemned the act, stressing the importance of Israeli tourism to the region.
The sign under discussion (Photo: Nimrod Buchman)
Danny Zimet, the Turkish Tourism Bureau's representative in Israel, expressed his regret over the reappearance of the three-year-old affair.
"After the picture was published in August 2006, I appealed to Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry to deal with the issue. And indeed, as reported to me by the office in Ankara, the store which hung the sign against Israel was punished and forced to shut down for a limited amount of time.
"Over the years in which I have been dealing with Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry, the Turks have been very sensitive to such negative phenomena in a bid to maintain the good relationship between the two countries.
"It's important to stress that Turkey is the first Muslim country to recognize Israel de facto and engage in friendly relations and a strategic-military partnership with it for 60 years now. Turkey is now Israel's eighth largest commerce partner, and the mutual civil commerce between the countries is expected to generate $4 billion this year."
Zimet regrets the renewed use made of the picture. "This is a phenomenon aimed at causing more harm to the Israel-Turkey relations, which are at a low point as it is at the moment, and this is a shame."