Turkeys Brand Under Attack

[Published in eTurbuNews on July 10, 2008]


The shootout near the US consulate here yesterday is another obstacle in the country's long journey to be perceived as a safe tourism destination. In recent years, The Turkish government has invested great resources in promoting the country's positive aspects, hoping to decrease the salience of several terror attacks that took place in the country. Knowing the possible consequences of this event on tourists and investors, the Turkish government needs to react quickly in order to protect the image it has worked to obtain. In many cases, the best solution is to tackle the crisis publicly, informing the media of the intent to battle terrorism and increase visitor's safety.


In the case of Turkey, on the other hand, it is most likely that the country will try to keep a very low profile, attempting to deliver the message that nothing has happened. As a country with a problematic record of terror attacks, opening the subject to public discussion might end up causing more harm than good, re-associating the country with negative images.


The same policy of total disregard was also employed by other Mediterranean countries which suffered from similar problems. For example, following a spate of terrorist attacks in several cities in Spain, the country made no mention of the events at all, continuing to promote itself as usual. Similarly, Egypt officials tried to ignore recent terror attacks in Sinai, maintaining a "business as usual" attitude. In both cases, national decision-makers felt that tackling the negative images would be too risky, and that it would be better to remain silent and hope that new events and the passing of time would erase the crisis from the target audience's memory.


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