Paris attacks: Antalya turns into fortress ahead of G20 summit

  • Timsy Jaipuria, Hindustan Times, Antalya, Turkey
  • Updated: Nov 15, 2015 10:17 IST
A security personnel looks on as a plane transporting China's President arrives at the Antalya International Airport before the G20 summit. (AFP Photo)

As Turkey woke on Saturday to the horror of the carnage in Paris, the mood at the G20 shifted from economic issues to the urgent need to step up the fight against terrorism.

Reflecting the concern expressed by world leaders, security at the venue of the summit has been tightened, with fighter jets and helicopters patrolling the skies over Antalya.

Mounted police, armoured police vehicles and the thick layer of security have turned Antalya, a tourist hotspot known for its beaches and golf courses, into a deserted town.

The host country had wanted leaders of the Group of 20 major economies (G20), including the US, China, Japan and Russia, to take up the issue of migration and refugees, but official sources said the summit is now expected to focus on terrorism.

“The massive influx of refugees into Turkey and other European countries since World War II was the main subject earlier, but now it will be the Paris attacks which will take over,” a source said.

Along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Barack Obama is expected to push for a united stand against terrorism.

Turkey, which will hand over the G20’s presidency to China next year, had pressed for a special session on terrorism and migration, a first for the grouping. A separate statement on global challenges such as terrorism is likely to be issued at the end of the summit.

After the Paris attacks, French President Francois Hollande cancelled his visit to Turkey but other leaders such as US President Barack Obama will go ahead.

Even before the summit, international delegates have started voicing concerns over terrorism. China’s vice finance minister Zhu Guangyou told a news conference at Belek in southwest Turkey: “While we recognise the risks posed by terrorism and its great negative impact on economic development, we must make our due response to that.”

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