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Update From Istanbul
Update on Friday, June 7, 2013
Linda Bearinger, along with other World Congress attendees have arrived in Istanbul. Since the Tuesday, June 4 update from the IAAH Council meeting, there has been a decreasing level of activity in Taksim Square. At midnight Thursday, the Prime Minister returned to Istanbul with 10,000 supporters at the airport to greet him. He gave a non-conciliatory speech, calling for an end to the protests. The impact on the protests is unknown at this time. On the IAAH Facebook are photos of the Congress center, taken Thursday evening. The only continued advisement is to stay away from demonstrations sites at night. The state department advisories from Australia, Britain, and the US, have not changed in the past several days.
Update from the IAAH Council Meeting, Tuesday, June 4, 2013
We know that there is concern about the unrest in Turkey, particularly the demonstrations in Taksim Square. The IAAH Council held a meeting this morning with 9 council members and a representative from Topkon, the organizing company for our meeting, having already consulted with our Turkish Pediatric Association colleagues. A number of indications suggest that we will be able to go ahead with the IAAH World Congress as planned.
* As of Tuesday morning, we received updates from several of our IAAH colleagues, some have been in Istanbul for several days. The IAAH Facebook shows photos taken by Terryann Clark (New Zealand) when she visited Taksim Square Monday noon and spoke with and photographed young people who are wanting others to hear and see that most seek peaceful demonstrations.
* Currently, Topkon is hosting a meeting of 9,000 MD/gynecologists at the venue where we will be holding our IAAH World Congress. There have been no issues associated with the demonstrations. Consistent with several state department websites, they are advising participants not to go to Taksim Square at night and stay away from crowds gathering on the street. On the IAAH 2013 website, Topkon will post a map of the Congress venue, relative to Taksim Square. Demonstrations are expected to be larger on the weekend, as many will not be at work as they are during weekdays.
* Concurrent with the IAAH meeting, Turkish Pediatric Association (TPA) will be holding their annual meeting, with 1200 pediatricians and 60 sponsors. We are sharing the congress venue with them. We have been in communication with the TPA Executive Director who indicates no plans to alter the TPA meetings.
The Prime Minister returns to Turkey on Friday as which time it is expected that his responses to the demonstrations will play a major role in determining the course of events. Russell Viner and Joan-Carles Suris, as co-chairs of the Scientific Committee and myself, as IAAH President, will be monitoring multiple sources of information, should the situation change. In addition to email communication to all registrants, Topkon will post updates on the IAAH 2013 website.
Like any savvy traveler, use your state department website for guidelines for traveling.
See you soon in Istanbul. I am on my way as I write this update to all of you.
Linda H. Bearinger, PhD, RN, FAAN, FSAHM
2009-2013 President, International Association for Adolescent Health
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