July 20, 2016
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COSPAR 2016, originally scheduled for July 30 to August 7 in Istanbul, Turkey, has been cancelled due to the recent attempted coup by elements in the national army.
COSPAR President Lennard Fisk has issued the following message:
Dear COSPAR Associates,
The most recent events in Istanbul, involving a coup from a faction of the national army against the Turkish government on 15 July, require us to cancel the 41st COSPAR Assembly. This is a difficult and sad decision, taken in consultation with the Executive Director of the COSPAR Secretariat and in consideration of the advice spontaneously expressed by several Bureau and Council members as well as COSPAR officers and Main Scientific event Organizers. It also reflects the sense of responsibilities of the President, Bureau and Secretariat of COSPAR.
Up to now we have been trying to maintain this event with its high scientific level and international character, in close coordination with our Turkish partners. In particular we have been working with the LOC at setting up a practicable solution for remote presentations. Our decision to do so reflected our common intent to resist terrorism and our willingness to respect the efforts of the local organizers. But now, that is no longer possible.
I have informed the LOC of my intent to work with them and the COSPAR Secretariat in minimizing the negative impacts of this situation on their organization, on COSPAR, and, first and foremost, on the registered participants. I am aware that registrants have incurred costs for paid registration fees and hotel bookings. Decisions concerning reimbursements reside with the organization that received the payments and so the LOC should be contacted first regarding related matters. Therefore I invite you to address any concerns for reimbursement to the LOC, bearing in mind the financial limitations that our hosts are now experiencing. Be assured that on its side, COSPAR will try and be helpful in obtaining any needed reimbursements.
Dear COSPAR Associates, this is an unprecedented situation with profound consequences, the sources of which are far beyond the responsibilities of our Turkish partners or our own organization. As a scientific body dedicated since its inception in 1958 to promoting international cooperation in space research, without regard to any geopolitical impediments, it was our duty to try and maintain the Istanbul Assembly, notwithstanding the risks related to terrorism that can strike anywhere, as sadly demonstrated on 14 July in Nice (France), but also in the last few weeks in Orlando (USA), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Bagdad (Iraq) and other places.
What happened on 15 July in Turkey is of a different nature, and I am sure that you will understand and approve our decision as the only wise one available. I am also certain of your continued interest in pursuing the noble goals of international cooperation in space research and in preparing for the next COSPAR Scientific Assembly that will take place in Pasadena in 2018.
Local organizers of COSPAR, TÜBITAK, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey,
have posted the following message on the Congress website:
As you have no doubt heard, a well orchestrated group, with many assets in the Turkish Military, attempted a coup on Friday night. The terrorist action was quickly subdued. In the immediate aftermath on Saturday morning we, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), received an email from the President of COSPAR.
The email informed us that the Assembly was unilaterally cancelled by COSPAR. It did not include any request for information or a prompt for a response. It was simply an informational email. Though we fully understand the instinctual response to cancel, it was not with our knowledge or consent.
Though we are still prepared to move forward with the conference we leave that decision to COSPAR. Should the Assembly remain cancelled we intend to do our utmost to alleviate the financial burden upon all those that have made payments. As of now, our intention is to reimburse attendees for their registration fees.
If some attendees do not wish to cancel their travel plans and still plan to visit Istanbul we, the LOC, will conform to our famous cultural bastion of Turkish Hospitality. We would be happy to engage with you academically and socially.
Best Wishes and Safe Travels,
The Local Organization Committee
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