Turkey heightens G-20 leaders summit venue

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Ahead of the G20 summit, Turkish police detained 20 suspected Islamic State (IS) militants in Antalya province as part of the crack down on extremist group.

Twin bombings in Ankara on Oct. 10 that killed 102 people, the worst terrorist attack in the nation’s history, is blamed on the IS.

Turkey has also been battling with the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) militants since July following the collapse of settlement talks the government had pursued with the PKK.

More than 150 members of security services were killed in clashes since then. The PKK is listed as terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Turkish air force jets staged air raids last week against the PKK targets in Northern Iraq where the PKK commanders are based.

U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German chancellor Angela Merkel are among the leaders attending the summit.

Antalya governor said the avenues to the summit place will be completely blocked and no protests will be allowed to take place in those areas.

Outside the security zones, peaceful protests will not be prevented however, Turker added.

“The legal requirements in exercising the right to hold protests are very clear. We’ll take necessary measures to insure that they exercise this right and not to disturb the peace and sabotage the meetings,” he explained.

Last week, the Turkish Youth Union (TGB), affiliated with the ultranationalist Homeland Party (VP), held a demonstration in front of the U.S. embassy in Ankara. The group chanted slogan against Obama, condemning his visit to Turkey for G20 meeting.

Summit venue Antalya, the fifth most populous city in Turkey, is a popular tourist destination with some 13 million travellers spending their vacations there every year.

Sinan Ozedincik, Turkish analyst, said the summit is expected to generate 200 million euros in tourism revenue.

“This giant activity in Antalya will contribute immensely to Turkey’s tourism in 2016,” he remarked.

Stressing that about 3,000 journalists from some 150 countries will cover the event at a designated hotel in Antalya, Ozedincik said the event will be a great promotion for Turkey.

The president of the Professional Hotel Managers’ Association (POYD), Ali Kizildag, said hotels in the area are ready for the G-20 summit.

He pointed out that they have been receiving advance teams in Antalya already, adding that the delegations mandated with security, technical details, and travel arrangements were meeting with professional managements of the hotels.

Emphasizing that the summit will be great advertisement opportunity for Antalya, Kizildag said this promotion corresponds to some USD 1.5 billion advertisement blitz.

“It is difficult to measure this in monetary value. Imagine in all media outlets from news channel, newspaper, magazine, internet portals, Turkey will be talked about,” he explained.

Turkey has boosted the security in and around Mediterranean resort city of Antalya ahead of G20 Leaders Summit that will take place on Nov. 15-16.

The summit, expected to draw some 13,000 visitors, will host the leaders of the world’s major economies.

Interior Minister Selami Altinok visited Antalya last week, inspecting the measures that have been taken in lieu of the summit.

“We have reviewed measures in place. Preparations are completed. Turkey and Antalya is ready for the summit,” he noted.

Antalya Governor Muammer Turker announced that some 12,000 security personnel will be deployed to provide security for the summit.

The hotels and convention centers that will accommodate the guests will be locked down under tight security measures, allowing only accredited visitors to come in and go.

The governor said high-tech surveillance cameras that were equipped with facial recognition and license tag recognition systems were installed around the host site.

The coast guard will provide protection from the sea while aerial surveillance will monitor activity on the air. A no-fly zone is expected to be declared around the site.

Turkish Air Force will continuously fly E-7T airborne early warning and control aircraft over Antalya skies to monitor air traffic. The air force also deployed F-16 fighter jets in Antalya airport to scramble in case of emergency.

Turker assured that they have planned for very contingency with first responders standing by in case something happens.

The security services have set up a command and control center to monitor all security measures in and around the resort area. (PNA)


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