A hotel in Istanbul has been granted an award after displaying "civil solidarity, courage and hospitality in crisis situations" during the Gezi Park protests in Turkey.
Munich, Germany-based organization PKF hotelexperts gave the Divan Hotel the "Hospitality Innovation Award" after the hotel -- directly opposite Gezi Park -- became a shelter for protesters attempting to avoid police who intervened in the protest against the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The flagship property's management took in protestors fleeing tear gas during the most tense moments of the protest. Then, according to Han Le, a American witness of the protests, the hotel's staff temporarily prevented police from arresting protesters by asking if they had a reservation when they entered the building.
While the decision to take in protesters was made by the hotel's management, the parent company of the Divan supported the move, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In an interview, PKF chair Michael Widman told publication The Daily Hürriyet:
"Divan Hotels are not big but its prestige is, it has 11 hotels with a 1,447 bed capacity. Along with that Divan Hotels and Koç Family has showed solidarity and courage during Gezi Park protests and proved how important hospitality is during crisis situations."
In response, naturally, Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the hotel's actions and repeatedly accused its management of fanning unrest to speculate -- and potentially profit -- on the economy.
Image credit: Divan
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com