Despite last Tuesday’s announcement that the National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau was calling off the travel warning regarding Turkey, Israelis are unlikely to return to Turkey in the near future.
According to a report published at the end of last week in Globes, the number of Israelis that chose to vacation in Turkey had been plummeting even before the Gaza flotilla incident on May 31 which brought about the travel warning.
Turkey is known for offering low prices and package deals which are seemingly perfect for Israelis who wish to go on vacation without a long air flight and save some money. But despite this fact, the report brought several possible reasons for the decline in the number of Israelis vacationing in Turkey. Among the reasons cited were a sense of hostility towards Israelis on part of the Turks, both by civilians as well as by the Turkish government. Another possible reason for Israelis to avoid Turkey is the proliferaton of damaging incidents such as the hacking of Israeli websites by Turkish hackers and the theft of passwords and credit card numbers.
The cancellation of the travel warning has already prompted tourist agents in Israeli to go to Turkey, but the report in Globes said that the 2-3 weekly flights to Antalya are only test flights. Israeli tourism agents, added the report, have admitted off the record that the destination will be “dead for the coming months”. The only factor that can cause this to change would be a change in Turkey's attitude toward Israel.
That major change in Turkey’s attitude still seems far away, as relations between the two sides are still tense. Turkey continues to insist on an Israeli apology over the lethal raid on the Gaza flotilla, as well as compensation for families of the casualties, and an independent international probe of the raid. Israel puts the blame squarely on Turkey for encouraging the flotilla. Turkey has been upgrading relationships with Iran and Syria.