A Japanese tourist was stabbed to death and her friend seriously wounded in an attack in a popular tourist destination in central Turkey, the Japanese embassy said on Tuesday.
The women, who police said were both 22, were attacked on Monday in Cappadocia, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its volcanic rock formations and centuries-old underground cities, southeast of the capital, Ankara.
“Unfortunately, Mai Kurkiharac has lost her life and Hoshie Teramatsu remains in an intensive care unit. Her condition remains critical,” said Futoshi Miyamoto, Second Secretary of the Japanese embassy in Ankara.
Miyamoto said he did not know why the women were attacked, but that police suspected it may have been a robbery or sexually motivated.
He added he had no information on whether the attack was related to the International Olympic Committee’s decision over the weekend to choose Tokyo over Istanbul as the venue of the 2020 Olympic Games.
The Olympic announcement prompted an angry backlash on social and mainstream media in Turkey and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused the Committee of ignoring the Muslim world.
Turkey receives millions of tourists each year and is generally seen as a safe destination, though there have been isolated incidents.
An American tourist was found dead in the ruins of Istanbul’s old city wall in February. The 33-year-old woman, who had been travelling alone, was killed by a blow to the head.
Tourism revenues are one of the most important sources of financing of Turkey’s current account deficit. Tourism revenue was $22.8 billion in the 12 months to the end of May while the current account deficit was $53.6 billion, central bank data showed.
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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