As I was walking in Tel-Aviv with my family a couple weeks ago, this building, housing the Turkish Tourist Office, caught my eye. As we were in a bit of a hurry, I didn’t have time to cross the street and press my face against the window, but it sure doesn’t look like people are banging down the doors to get in and plan their next vacation extravaganza to Turkey.
Years ago, when I finished my army service, a fellow Lone Soldier and I talked about where we might go on our post-Zahal wanderings. At the top of our list was Turkey. We had gone so far as to rough out a basic itinerary, including Istanbul (natch), Antalya, Konya, Cappadocia, and more.
In the end, all our planning was for naught, since we realized that we had nowhere near enough Shekels to pull it off, and we spent a week in the closer, cheaper Dahab, Sinai instead. Ooh, I should see how busy the Egyptian Tourism Office in Israel is these days. I’m guessing better than the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Spring!
But I digress. One place we didn’t plan to go on our hypothetical vacation was the Turkish capital, Ankara. In retrospect, that might have been the best place to visit, as it houses the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the reformer who tried to build a more modern, westernized Turkey from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1920s. And given that current Islamist Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seems hellbent on dragging Turkey back into the era of Ottoman ‘grandeur’, Atatürk’s tomb seems a fitting metaphor for the times, because Erdoğan is presiding over the gradual death of Atatürk’s dreams.
At this point, given the naked hostility for Israel repeatedly exhibited by Erdoğan (the most notorious example being the 2010, political, non-humanitarian, expired medicine and IHH terrorist-carrying, non-apology-meriting Flotilla), you have to wonder if they even make enough Turkish Lira to break even after paying the rent on this place.