Turkish Tourism Trashed

Garen Yegparian
Garen Yegparian

Garen Yegparian

BY GAREN YEGPARIAN

It is remarkable, almost unbelievable. For the first time in a quarter century of reading the Los Angeles Times and seeing endless advertising flaunting Turkish touristic venues coupled with occasional articles in the paper’s travel section, I noticed a negative item in the February 14 issue titled “Turkey and safety issues.” Of course it is accompanied by a pretty picture of hot air balloons over Cappadocia, just to attenuate the “harshness” of such a piece in what is the paper’s forum for promoting travel to interesting places.

The author, Christopher Reynolds, takes great pains not to come out and explicitly write “don’t go, it’s not safe.” He writes that the State Department is “increasingly nervous,” that Turkey has been a terrorist target in recent months, that “Istanbul… as worldly a city as can be” is 550 miles from the Syrian border – an implicit reference to the instability Turkey has fomented in its neighbor which is now spilling across the border. He is silent about the Kurds and the war being waged by the government against them, except in “code,” contained in the reference to “an increased threat of terrorist attacks” in southeastern turkey.

Reynolds notes the huge numbers of Russian tourists who used to visit Turkey and its beaches until the Russian jet was downed by Turkey in November. The decreasing flow of European, and especially German tourists is not mentioned.

My favorite comment is “before you book that that Turkish trip – or cancel it, consider…”

To anyone paying attention, the very appearance of such an item is screaming “don’t go, you fool!” I’m curious (and hope someone analyzes/counts) what happens to advertising in the LA Times by Turkey’s tourism interests, governmental and private. Will it increase, decrease, or stay the same relative to levels prior to this article?

If Erdoğan’s inclinations penetrate into this realm, then a cutoff of advertising could be forthcoming. That would be great. If it happens, that might be a good time to find a way to get advertising for Turkish Airlines off the City of LA’s buses. Currently, that course of action is stymied by freedom of speech considerations, I’ve been informed. But it seems to me there must be ways of accomplishing that end.

It’s embarrassing to Armenians in the Los Angeles basin to have such a potent, positive presence painting Turkey as a charming place, all courtesy of the people Turks have persecuted and massacred through the ages, and even now.

The decline in tourism dollars is a blow to Turkey’s economy, and we should be doing everything we can to discourage travel there until real progress is made. The promising part of this proposal is the prospect of profit to neighboring countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and even Egypt. People can get the same kind of history, climate, and beaches by going there and avoiding Turkey!

It might be the right time to take up this fight. Perhaps our numerous travel agents could form an ANCA coordinated consortium to promote these alternative destinations, strike a blow for Hai Tahd, and make a buck along the way.

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4 Comments

  1. Original Armenian said:

    Are there statistics on how many Americans actually holiday in Turkey? It seems most of the tourists that go there come from countries that say they’re our friends…i.e. Russians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Arabs, Persians, etc….

  2. David Dilanchian said:

    GAREGI YEGPARIAN, AS ALWAYS AND REPETDLY YOUR ARTICALS INDEPT KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION BRIGHTENS AND ADDS VALUE TO ASBAREZ PAGES THANK YOU AND YOUR OTHER WONDERFUL JURNOS FOR MAKING AND UPGRADING ASBAREZ DAY BY DAY. ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU INDIVIDUAL AND MANAGEMENT OF ASBAREZ.
    Լաւագոյն մաղթանքներով, Դաւիթ Դիլանչեան

  3. MalS said:

    I have a couple of tourist slogans that Turkey can use that accurately describe the situation:
    Turkey – Land of Genocide
    Come to Turkey and Get Blown Up

    How about some tours in Turkey for the adventurous tourist?

    Day 1: Thrill to the sight of towns in Eastern Turkey getting bombed by Turkish jets. Great fireworks. The kids will love it.
    Day 2: See ancient churches that were built by ancient Turks before Turks even stepped foot on the land!
    Day 3: View Armenia across the border – the land we are going to invade someday soon and commit genocide in.
    Day 4: Visit the mass graves of Armenians who rebelled and died because of bad weather.
    etc.

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