Speaking at the opening of the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul, Yildirim said the threat from terrorism was global. “If we are talking about security, nowhere in the world is safe… terrorism does not recognize borders” he said. “There is no place safe from terrorism. The fear and threat of terrorism is only useful to terrorists. “I say it proudly and confidently – Turkey is as safe as the United States, Istanbul is as safe as Paris, Ankara is as safe as Sarajevo, Izmir is as safe as Baku. Therefore, please do not let terrorism sabotage tourism”. The prime minister hailed those working in the tourism sector as “volunteer peace ambassadors”. A string of terror attacks across Turkey have threatened the country’s vital tourism industry, with the number of foreign visitors dropping from 36.8 million in 2014 to 25.4 million last year, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry. However, Yildirim said Turkey aimed to attract 8 million more tourists in the first stage of a campaign to boost tourism earnings to $50 billion, unveiled by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week. He also stressed the non-financial benefits of tourism. “It is insufficient to evaluate tourism only from an economic point of view” he said. “Tourism is beyond that. It is primarily the meeting of cultures, the meeting of civilizations
The strategic hills overlooking the northern Syrian town of al-Bab were captured by the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), clashes have resumed for the town’s full control, the Turkish military said in a statement on Wednesday. Speaking at a press conference in capital Ankara, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that the FSA have surrounded Al-Bab on all sides and clashes resume for full control of town. He added that coordination with U.S.-led coalition and Russia prevents possible clashes with Assad forces as their troops move closer to al-Bab from southeast. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said yesterday that Turkey and other regional powers should provide special forces troops for the eventual assault on Daesh’s Syrian stronghold, the city of Raqqa.