10:49 GMT +326 May 2019
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    Russian tourists in Antalya

    Russo-Turkish Crisis: 'Antalya Has Lost This Tourist Season'

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    The situation in the Turkish resort city of Antalya remains "catastrophic" as far as the tourism sector is concerned, former Antalya mayor Mustafa Akaydin told Sputnik.

    In an interview with Sputnik, former Antalya mayor Mustafa Akaydin, a former member of the opposition Republican People's Party, said that the crisis in Russian-Turkish relations has finally led to Antalya losing its tourist season this year.

    The interview came as the Turkish tourism sector continued to  deteriorate after Russia banned organized travel of its tourist groups to Turkey following a November incident in which Ankara downed a Russian Su-24 attack aircraft over an alleged airspace violation.

    "I'm seeing this catastrophic situation for the first time in the 36 years that I've lived in Antalya. Of course, the crisis in the tourism sector came as no surprise. It was caused by a number of factors, including a chill in the Russia-Turkey ties and security-related issues," Akaydin said.

    He remained downbeat about a package of measures aimed at resolving the crisis in the Turkish tourism sector, notably searching for alternative tourist markets.

    "It would be naïve to believe that Turkey will manage to foray into alternative markets in the nearest future, and new ways to revitalize the tourism sector are not developed quickly. So it is safe to assume that Antalya has already lost this tourist season," he said.

    Expressing hope that the crisis in Russian-Turkish relations will soon be resolved, Akaydin pointed the finger at Turkish authorities, who he said are responsible for the current standoff.

    Relations between Turkey and Russia deteriorated in November 2015, when Ankara shot down a Russian Su-24 aircraft carrying out anti-terrorist operations in Syria.

    Despite Ankara's claims that the plane had violated Turkish airspace, both Russian and Syrian military officials have confirmed that the plane never left the skies of Syria.

    Russia suspended its visa-free regime with Turkey and imposed an array of restrictive economic measures on Ankara in response to the downing of Russia’s Su-24 frontline bomber.

    In late January, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara was eager to normalize relations with Moscow.


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