Israel Apology Boosts Turkey Tourism Stocks to 2-Month High

March 25 (Bloomberg) -- Turkish tourism companies rose on speculation that Israeli tourist arrivals to Turkey will rebound after an apology by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the Israeli army’s killing of nine Turks three years ago.

The Istanbul Stock Exchange’s tourism index gained 1.9 percent to 6001.19 at the close in Istanbul, its highest level since Jan. 29. The Istanbul Stock Exchange National 100 Index climbed 0.4 percent.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 22 apologized to Turkey for the deaths, which occurred during a May 2010 raid by Israeli commandos on a Turkish aid ship headed for the Gaza Strip. The number of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey dropped to 83,740 in 2012 from 558,000 in 2008 as Turkey broke off diplomatic relations and tensions between the two countries increased after the raid, according to data on the Turkish statistics agency’s website.

“Today’s gains are related to developments regarding Israel, with investors expecting an increase in tourist arrivals,” Nalan Ozdemir, an analyst at Ekinciler Yatirim in Istanbul, said in a phone interview.

Izmir-based Altinyunus Cesme Turistik Tesisler AS gained as much as 16 percent, its biggest advance since September 2005. More than 563,000 shares changed hands, almost 17 times the stock’s three-month average daily volume. Marti Otel Isletmeleri AS, an operator of resort hotels in Turkey’s southwest, rose 3.9 percent. Utopya Turizm Insaat Isletmecilik Ticaret AS increased 2 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Taylan Bilgic in Istanbul at tbilgic2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net