Saudi Arabia, Turkey working closely to combat terrorism

Updated 08 January 2017

Saudi Arabia, Turkey working closely to combat terrorism

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Turkey, whose top leadership strongly condemned the deadly Istanbul terror attacks that left 39 people dead and scores of innocent men and women wounded, are working closely to combat terrorism.
Turkey and the regional bloc, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), have also stepped up efforts to tackle the threat posed by terror organizations like Daesh and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
“Turkey’s cooperation with the Kingdom on the one hand and the GCC countries on the other is outstanding in combating terrorism,” said Turkish Ambassador Yunus Demirer here Saturday.
Demirer, while commending the efforts of the GCC and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), pointed out that “FETO has been designated as a terror organization by GCC and OIC.”
The diplomat expressed his “heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery for the wounded.” “My thoughts and prayers are with my Saudi brothers and sisters, as well as all victims, who lost their lives in this cowardly act of terror,” he added.
“This attack clearly showed once again that terror claims innocent lives and hurts people without any discrimination,” said the envoy, adding that the perpetrators of this inhuman crime will be duly punished. “We are grateful to the leadership and people of the Kingdom for their support, solidarity and sympathies,” said Demirer, while referring to the support extended by friendly countries and allies like the GCC member states.
He said that “Turkey is determined to eradicate this evil and foil attacks against our country.” In this regard, he pointed out that Turkish authorities are taking all necessary measures to ensure “security and peace” in the country and for every citizen and foreigner visiting Turkey. “I am sure that the current challenges Turkey faces will be overcome in a short time,” he said.
Asked about the strategy that Ankara will put in place to foil terror plots after a string of attacks last year and on Jan. 1 this year, Demirer said that Turkey is fully determined to continue its fight against Daesh, Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), ethnic Kurdish ‘People’s Protection Units’ (YPG) and FETO terrorist groups. He called on the UN member states to stand united against terrorism, saying that the fight against terrorism requires international cooperation.
Saudi Arabia has reiterated its full backing of Turkish military operations in northern Syria against Daesh and Kurdish militants and suggested a military solution remained the strongest option to get rid of Bashar Assad.
Turkey has embarked on an international effort to inform foreign officials and media about terrorist organizations, especially about FETO, said a report published by Anadolu agency, a state-run press agency of Turkey.

“Turkey has given around 10,000 foreign briefings about the FETO since the July 15 coup attempt,” said the report. Moreover, a total of 8,390 civil servants were dismissed and three new statutory decrees made late Friday. The Turkish Official Gazette has published the statutory legislations aimed to help law enforcement in its fight against terrorism, said the report.


Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

Updated 11 July 2020

Saudi rural tourism recovers after months of forced isolation

  • Saudis turn to domestic traveling and flock to their nation’s cooler cities and rural areas

TAIF: As Saudi citizens turn to domestic tourism in the country’s summer resorts, adapting to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, rural areas have become targeted by local tourists wishing to get away from the soaring temperatures in most of the Kingdom’s cities.

Visitors are now choosing cold Saudi cities instead of Europe, which they are accustomed to visiting, such as Taif, Al-Baha, and Abha.

COVID-19 has postponed all plans to travel abroad, and attention has now focused on domestic tourism amid strict health protocols in parks, gardens and recreational areas.

Walid Al-Hamidi, vice president of the Tourism Development Council, confirmed to Arab News that Asir, with its facilities and attractions, was ready to receive summer visitors from across the country.

He said that under the directives of Asir's governor, who supervises all activities and events directly and constantly, many committees had been formed to prepare a successful summer tourism season, to optimize the opportunity and allow people to enjoy the exceptional ambiance of Asir.

“A comprehensive tourism plan was set up two years ago, which resulted in a successful Al-Soudah Season with the support of Asir’s Investment Authority,” Al-Hamidi added.

He noted that Asir’s directives aimed this year to build an exceptional tourism model that meets optimal health standards in dealing with COVID-19.

The model is supported by the “Nashama Asir” team — consisting of 4,000 volunteers — who have been trained for months and have all the necessary skills to make the season successful. Their work will continue until the end of the pandemic and throughout the summer.

“Everyone is ready at public facilities, gardens and parks, to serve tourists,” he said, adding “tourists coming from all the over the Kingdom will be welcomed with smiles, enhanced services, and warm welcomes.”

Dr. Sami Al-Obaidi, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taif, told Arab News that the tourism sector was the economic backbone of any country or city.

He said that Taif was considered one of the most important tourist cities, given its many attractions  that made it top of any list of places to visit in the Kingdom.

“Suspending travel abroad, and limiting tourism … due to the coronavirus pandemic, makes us, as officials and citizens in Taif, well placed for a beautiful and safe tourism season for Taif’s citizens and visitors,” said Al-Obaidi.

“Meetings are held around the clock, headed by Saad Al-Maimouni, the governor of Taif, with the participation of the relevant authorities.”

He expected all sectors, especially tourism, hospitality and a few other businesses in Taif, to recover to some extent during this season, especially now tourists have already started flocking to the region, with numbers set to increase over the coming weeks.