'Turkey will not attend OECD conference in Israel'

Move described as first official boycott following flotilla affair; Culture and Tourism Minister says "We want tourism to take place, not politics."

October 13, 2010 19:49
1 minute read.
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A Turkish delegation will not be in attendance at this year's OECD conference, being held in Jerusalem later this month, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay spoke to reporters on Tuesday and confirmed that Turkey would not be sending representatives to Israel for the conference despite prior plans to the contrary.

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“Regrettable statements have been made. We want tourism to take place, not politics,” Günay was quoted as saying.

Hurriyet described the move as Turkey's first official boycott of Israel in the wake of the Mavi Marmara raid, in which nine Turkish activists were killed.

The UK has also said it won't be attending the conference, but told The Jerusalem Post that the reasons for this were non-political. A Foreign Office spokesman said:

The UK’s opposition to boycotts against Israel is well-known. The UK will chair a session at the OECD’s meeting of International Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Jerusalem later this month. The decision [not to attend the tourism conference] was due to the unavailability of the relevant delegates.”

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