Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertuğrul Günay announced his country would not participate in the OECD conference on tourism due to be held in Jerusalem, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported.
The decision follows the declaration of Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov (Yisrael Beitenu), who said holding the event in Jerusalem reflects the organization's recognition of the city as Israel's capital.
Günay said "saddening declarations" had been voiced, adding, "Turkey would have liked the event to be about tourism, not politics."
According to Turkish diplomats, this is the first Turkish boycott of Israel since the flotilla affair in May. Turkey originally intended to send the deputy minister of tourism but after Misezhnikov's declaration it was decided to pull out completely. Britain and Spain will not be attending either.
Ynet has learned that the OECD threatened to cancel the event altogether unless Misezhnikov's words were clarified, and considered holding it in Tel Aviv instead. But after OECD Director-General Angel Gurria met with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, it was decided to hold the event in Jerusalem as planned.
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