On May 22, 2007 a suicide bombing took place in a popular shopping area across form the Parliament building in Ankara’s Ulus district. Six were killed and more than 100 were injured. The bombing occurred during rush hour at a bus stop near the entrance to the Anafartalar shopping center. The Ulus district is one of the prime tourist areas in Ankara. As you may know, a similar bombing took place in a bazaar in Izmir’s Bornova district on May 12th, killing 1 and injuring a dozen others.
In a worrying coincidence that occurred today (May 23rd), two possible suicide bombers were arrested in southern Turkey. A female was apprehended in Adana with A-4 explosives. A male was detained in Mardin with an explosive belt loaded with A-4. Both of those arrested are suspected of being affiliated with the Kurdish separtist group Kongra Gel (KGK – formerly known as the PKK).
Turkey’s government is concerned about the KGK’s threat to public safety and its potential influence on travel and tourism. The Turkish government and military believe that the KGK has operational bases in the Kurdish section of Iraq that borders Turkey. While Turkey is considering military action in this area, it has been asked to refrain by the U.S. and the United Nations. In many ways, inaction is a growing more difficult for the government and the situation, in either case, may become more dangerous for tourists traveling in Turkey.
For those of you who have not visited Turkey, it is a magical place. Its people are warm and hospitable and its historical buildings and heritage are among the true treasures of humankind. Unfortunately, future events may lead to us to recommend you not travel to Turkey this season. We will keep you updated as news develops.
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