Kurdish tourists cancelling travel in Turkey after attack on visitors from KRG - tourism official
An attack on a group of Kurdish tourists visiting Turkey’s northern province of Trabzon last week has prompted thousands of Kurdish tourists from the Kurdish-majority southeast of the country and neighbouring Iraq to cancel their travel plans to the region, a tourism official has said.
An attack that took place in the Çaykara district of Trabzon last week on nine Kurdish men has dissuaded thousands from visiting the region, left-wing news site Artı Gerçek quoted the chairman of the Diyarbakır Tourism and Advertising Association Edip Paçal as saying.
The tourists were swarmed and physically assaulted by a group of people as they tried to take a photograph while wearing scarves bearing the word “Kurdistan”.
The inhabitants of Turkey’s Black Sea region, where Trabzon is located, are known for their staunch Turkish nationalism. The term “Kurdistan” itself is controversial in Turkey, where decades of governments have strongly opposed Kurdish efforts for self-rule and disputed the existence of a Kurdish region.
The Trabzon governorship in a statement they released on the incident said the tourists had got into a skirmish with locals who it said had protested the display of the Kurdistan flag.
It was the tourists from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq, however, who were detained by local police, who launched investigation launched against them.
The KRG administration harshly criticised the incident, asking the relevant authorities to intervene. The men were eventually released.
The normal traffic from the KRG and Diyarbakır during this time of year is 200 tourists per week, Paçal said, a number which has dropped considerably since the incident.