Mastercard in trouble over guidebook to Istanbul

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
May 31, 2005, Tuesday

06:41:03 Central European Time


Credit card provider Mastercard could be in trouble in Turkey with
prosecutors probing whether to press charges over alleged insults
to Turkey in an Istanbul guidebook handed out free of charge in the
run-up to last week's Champions League Final, Hurriyet newspaper
reported on Tuesday.

A history section of the English-language guide reportedly referred
to the massacre of thousands of Armenians living in Istanbul in the
late 1890s and the forced assimilation of Kurds into Turkish society.

"We will look into this and after looking at the law we will see if
prosecutors see if there was crime," Hurriyet quoted Istanbul Governor
Muammer Guler.

"No one has the right to belittle the Turkish Republic," he added.

According to Mastercard's Southeast Europe General Manager, Ozlem
Ercelen Imece, the guidebook had been compiled by the Australian
travel book firm Lonely Planet and that due to work pressures in
the build up to the Champions League final, of which Mastercard was
the main sponsor, the offending sections of the guide had not been
checked. dpa cw pb