The organizers for EuroGeo 6, the 6th European Conference on Geosynthetics, have made the difficult decision to relocate the event to a new country, but they will keep the same dates for the event: 25 – 28 September 2016.
The June 28 coordinated suicide bombings at Istanbul’s international airport—an attack which focused on foreign travelers—was the third major attack in the city in the past 12 months.
The Turkish capital of Ankara has also been struck multiple times in the same period, while smaller incidents have been reported in other regions in the country.
The EuroGeo 6 conference leadership met in the wake of the June 28 incident and, in consultation with the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS), decided that the security risk to travelers and the risk of revenue loss for the event from decreased participation was too great to allow the event to go forward in Istanbul.
Dr. Erol Güler, who chairs the Turkish Chapter of the IGS and EuroGeo 6, announced in a June 30 email that the conference would relocate to new country but keep the same dates.
The location will be announced shortly. The EuroGeo 6 leadership is in active discussions with other IGS Chapters in Europe.
EUROGEO 6 ANNOUNCEMENT
Dr. Güler wrote:
You undoubtedly are aware and concerned about the recent tragic event in Istanbul and we thank you for all the messages of sympathy. We, as the Local Organizing Committee of EuroGeo6, are also dismayed by these troubling developments. We would like to express that our hearts, minds and prayers are with the victims and their families.
Even though we trust that the Turkish authorities, our organizing company Dekon and all venue representatives will take all possible measures to keep our participants sound and safe, we also fully understand that those incidents are making you and your loved ones uncertain about coming to Turkey. In this situation we want to let you rest assured that your and our industry partners’ safety/peace of mind is an absolute priority for us. Having said this, we see it as our duty to act now in a responsible and proactive manner.
Therefore, we have decided to relocate the EuroGeo6 Congress to a destination in another country without changing the congress dates. This new destination will be announced shortly after a consultation with the IGS. Of course, the Turkish Chapter of IGS and the existing Organizing Committee will continue to resume full responsibility. We will do our best so that you may experience the valuable technical program we have prepared for you, another magnificent city, and the essence of warm Turkish hospitality.
The decision to relocate an organization that we have been involved with for over five years has not been an easy one to make. However, we trust that your continued support and participation will make it all worthwhile.
PREPARED TO RESPOND
The IGS Council was quick to communicate with the conference following the latest bombing. The issue of security in the region was a strong topic of discussion in Miami during GeoAmericas 2016 in April. There, multiple representatives from Turkey were on hand to promote EuroGeo 6, but they were also there to make a firm decision on whether the conference could go forward as planned.
The emotional support for the Turkish Chapter of the IGS was strong in Miami, and the IGS made it clear that it would leave the decision to the chapter. The Turkish Chapter decided in favor of continuing, given all the hard work of its members. The hope was that Turkey would stabilize quickly.
Indeed, the final program was about to be released, and multiple, high-quality special sessions had been confirmed.
Still, as 2016 progressed, multiple state departments and security agencies around the world continued to show caution towards travel to Istanbul.
Reuters reported in March that the tourism industry would suffer a decline of nearly US $8 billion in the first quarter alone. Bloomberg noted it was the steepest decline on record for the country.
The caution continued into the second quarter. US agencies were still reluctant to support employee travel to Istanbul for scientific conferences, due to security concerns. NASA, for example, announced on June 21 that it would not support employee participation in the 41st Annual Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) conference, which was scheduled for Istanbul in early August.
Though its domestic conditions are increasingly challenged, the Turkish Chapter of the IGS has been steadfast in its activity. Its leadership was prepared to make this difficult decision, and it does so with the faith that the geosynthetics community will support its decision to continue with the event in a new country.
The IGS will update its members and the larger engineering community as soon as possible on the new location for the event.
Learn more about the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) at www.geosyntheticssociety.org.