Saturday 10/23/21
PANDEMIC

'Sorry, I'm Turkish': Tourism promotion triggers outrage in Turkey

A video created by official travel guide Go Turkiye presented Turkey as a "safe haven" for unmasked foreign tourists.

 

02 May 2021, Turkey, Istanbul: A general view of closed shops at the historical Tahtakale district on the 3rd day of curfew that has been imposed to curb the spreading of coronavirus. Photo: Tolga Ildun/ZUMA Wire/dpa
Closed shops at the historical Tahtakale district in Istanbul during the curfew imposed to curb the spreading of coronavirus. Photo: Tolga Ildun/dpa.

A Turkish government tourism promotional video showing airline and hospitality staff wearing yellow masks with a logo that reads "Enjoy! I am vaccinated" sparked outrage on Friday.

Opposition leaders said it humiliated Turks and residents who have long been waiting to get Covid-19 vaccines. Many were enraged at the apparent special treatment for the workers.

The video, created by official travel guide Go Turkiye, on Thursday presented Turkey as a "safe haven" for unmasked foreign tourists.

With sweeping views of top destinations, the English video said: "Sanitized resorts and vaccinated staff. We call it double safety for tourism. Our guests call it peace of mind."

Turkey has been in a nationwide lockdown for nearly three weeks to stem the spread of coronavirus, with residents suffering along with the flailing economy, while foreign tourists have been free to roam.

While the video was subsequently taken down, Turks responded in anger, with hashtags on Twitter demanding the resignation of the tourism minister and the sarcastic #TurkumOzurDilerim - sorry, I'm Turkish - trending.

Suffering

"In the pandemic, you only inflicted suffering and difficulties on our beloved people, and now you've done this without being ashamed. Shame on you!" tweeted opposition Iyi Party leader, Meral Aksener.

"Finally, we have a ministry that humiliates its own people," said Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party.

Turks were already annoyed by the foreign minister's declaration this month in Germany that people who come in contact with tourists would be vaccinated.

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