Hope both Turkish and Indian currencies recover: Turkey's Ambassador

New Delhi : With Turkey's currency in a free fall amid a trade war with the US, the Ambassador of Turkey to India, Sakir Özkan Torunlar on Wednesday said he hopes the fall in the lira and the Indian rupee would soon be retrieved.

He was speaking at an informal meeting with the media at his residence here with a focus on current tourism statistics and trends between India and Turkey.

On the fall in Turkey's lira and India's rupee, the Ambassador said: "I hope the track will reverse for both the currencies. I think this is a temporary phase which our countries will gradually get over."

Since the start of the year, Turkey's currency has fallen over 45 per cent against the US dollars. As a result, all imported goods became more expensive practically overnight.

The catalyst for the current crisis was US sanctions, which the Trump administration imposed on August 1 after the Turkey government refused to hand over an American pastor it has detained for almost two years. Turkey responded by doubling tariffs on US cars, alcohol and other goods.

When asked about the conflict with the US, Ambassador Torunlar said the international community should follow the rules and regulations laid down by the WTO or "in (case of a)a conflict, raise their opinion with organizations in Geneva."

The Ambassador also talked about the warm relation between India and Turkey saying the number of Indian tourists has doubled in just a year.

"In 2017, Turkey hosted more than 32 million international tourists among them 87,000 were from India. This year, from January to July, we recorded a 25% increase in the number of overall tourists. That means we will be hosting 40 million international tourists by the end of 2018.

"When we look at figures from India, we see a 95% increase for the same period. If this trend continues we will be hosting almost 2 lakhs Indian tourists by the year-end," he said.

Deniz Ersöz, Culture and Tourism Counsellor, Turkish Embassy, talked about what all his country has to offer to Indian tourists.

"Istanbul, Antalya, Cappadocia, Troy and Izmir are extremely popular with Indian travellers. However, Bodrum and Marmaris have also emerged as major tourist attractions in recent past. In addition to that, Konya where Celaleddin Rumi spent his last 45 years, the sacred site where he was buried is also among the popular destinations for Indians, " he said.

He added that Istanbul will be getting a new airport by the end of October this year.

"It will be one of the largest airports in the world with a capacity of 200 million passengers per year," he said.

On the occasion, Arjun Kapoor, Sales Manager-North and East India, Turkish airlines, said that to promote tourism in the country, the airlines also offer a pre-city tour for all the transit passengers.

"The airlines will take the transit passengers to visit all the Istanbul's historical and cultural areas and then take the passengers back to airport to catch their flight," Kapoor said.