Friday, 27 March 2009


So....four cold and wet winter months in Gumusluk resulted in us looking for somewhere more civilised to live. In Turgutreis we found probably one of the most luxurious apartments we've ever occupied.

Turgutreis is the second largest town on the Bodrum peninsula. It is 20 km from Bodrum, and a popular holiday destination with its 5 km of sandy beaches, waterfront restaurants and bars.

The town is named after the Turkish admiral Turgut Reis who was born there in 1485. Turgut Reis was known for his expeditions on the coasts of Spain, France, Italy, and North Africa, and for his participation in the Ottoman siege of Malta. A few kilometres outside the town centre, in Sabanci Park, a waterfront memorial with his statue marks the place where he first set sail.

The coastline consists of several inlets, with steep mountains running parallel to the coast. There are 14 Turkish islands around Turgutreis as well as the Greek islands Kos and Kalimnos.

Our first floor apartment was on a beautiful site with well-kept gardens and an enormous swimming pool. We had three bedrooms and two bathrooms, separate WC, kitchen and large sitting room. And of course the obligatory balcony which overlooked the pool.

We may have stayed there longer if it hadn't been for a difficult landlord (we've had a lot of those) who objected to the kitten, Kuci, which we had rescued from the beach at Gumusluk. She was really no trouble at all ..she went out all day..then jumped up and scratched on the kitchen window to come in at night. Then suddenly one night she didn't return. Mr Ayak was particularly fond of Kuci and sat up every night for a week just in case she should return. He also asked the bin men to look out for her, and offered a reward to small boys in the neighbourhood if they managed to find her. She never returned, and to this day I have an awful feeling that the landlord had something to do with her disappearance.

A few weeks passed and a small puppy was dumped outside the site. We smuggled her in and kept her hidden. We called her Meyzi. At this time we had rented a small cafe by the beach, and we smuggled Meyzi out of the apartment every morning, kept her at the cafe, and smuggled her back in at night. This was fine until she started to grow, and we could no longer hide her. The landlord told us the dog would have to go. So we moved further along the coast road to an apartment where the landlord didn't object to dogs.

This was 1999...a difficult year in more ways than one. Early in the season there were threats to target tourist areas by the PKK which resulted in a decline in the numbers of tourists. This affected our small business which we eventually had to abandon.

Then in August the massive earthquake in Izmit, Istanbul which claimed many thousands of lives. Lots of Turks from Istanbul had holiday homes in Turgutreis, and the atmosphere was just dreadful as people queued at the public phone kiosks desperately trying to contact their relatives and friends in the earthquake area.

I left Turgutreis when I had to return to the UK because of family problems and wasn't able to come home for about 8 months. In the meantime Mr Ayak had to move because of work, and also find a home for Meyzi. So when I eventually returned it was to Side in Antalya.


  1. Yes...and like I said we've had a few horrible ones. It's actually quite difficult to find landlords who will allow us to keep a dog inside. The Turks don't really approve of having animals in the house.

  2. Great post. Heart rending tale about Kuci. I'm a cat lover too. Like Mr Ayak, I've found myself staying up through the nights over the years waiting for one of them to return safely. Always fascinated by the degree with which we become so emotionally and spiritually attached to our pets and animal cousins in general. Very touching. So much so that I’ve just penned an outline for a poignant & personal ‘pet’ posting tale of my own in the very near future. Thanks for the inspiration, both of you, and keep up the great and noble passion you share in caring for less fortunate animals during your travels.

  3. Ah Phil. Reading this post again has brought back memories of both Kuci and Meyzi...and a few tears. I always hold a special place in my heart for all the dogs and cats that have passed through my hands over the years.

    I'll look forward to your post xx


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