Posted: Monday, July 18, 2016
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.
Lennard A. Fisk
President of COSPAR
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