Turkey pleased with natural phenomenon too

SIDE, Turkey – Yesterday’s solar eclipse proved to be a celestial gift for Turkey, where bird flu and demonstrations over caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad have cut into the critical tourism industry. Officials vigorously promoted eclipse tourism, distributing posters and leaflets in English, German, Russian and French at international trade fairs in the hope that the tens of thousands of people who flocked to the country to witness the event would spark a rebound in the industry. «After two or three months of suffering, I hope this is a turning point for us,» Tourism Minister Atilla Koc said. Tourism Ministry spokesman Tayfun Yahsi said some 200,000 tourists had arrived in the Antalya region, one of the country’s most popular tourist areas, but could not say how many came specially for the event. In Side, around 10,000 people gathered at an ancient temple to Apollo and a nearby rocky beach to witness the eclipse.