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Israel's boycott of Turkey short lived  Mar 09, 2009

ISTANBUL - The Israeli travel companies’ boycott of Turkey after harsh criticism of Turkish officials to Israel’s military operation in Gaza has seemed to end, according to an Israeli daily.

"Turkey is back," declared Arnon Englender, the managing director of Holiday Lines, which handles some 40 percent of Israel's travel market to Turkey, Jerusalem Post reported yesterday.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's sharp criticism of Israel's military offensive elicited an instant response from Israeli trade unions, who for years have been buying group vacation packages to Turkey for their members.

The boycott was short-lived, however, because Israelis simply cannot resist a bargain and Turkey, which according to Englender provides the best value for money all year round, pulled out all the stops to make itself even more attractive to Israelis by offering all-inclusive weekend trips, i.e. flight, three nights in a hotel, food and beverages, and entertainment, for only $200.

"It's cheaper than going to Eilat, Greece or Bulgaria," said Englender.

Special offer

The special offer was in place only during the month of February, but it did the trick and vindicated the optimism of Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namık Tan, who two weeks earlier in the course of an informal conversation with The Jerusalem Post had forecast that the crisis would soon blow over.

Tan made a point of speaking to several of Israel's top travel agents and tour operators, telling them that leisure activities were one thing and politics another. On the day of the interview, Holiday Lines had two flights going to Antalya on planes that carry 170 passengers each. Englender happily reported that both planes were almost full.

Israel's boycott of Turkey short lived
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