Thursday, 22 August 2013

This country is changing...

...and not necessarily for the better.

I'm not even going to get into talking about the political situation at the moment, other than to say that democracy is dying and we are heading very quickly towards a dictatorship.

People are becoming more materialistic.  They want all the latest technology and cars, but sadly most don't earn the money to pay for them.   So they get into debt or they turn to crime.

I'm afraid a lot of Turks think that foreigners are wealthy.  I suppose relatively speaking, they are better off than a lot of Turks, but many expats have worked hard and saved for their retirement in the sun, and live here on their pensions.  They're not rich, they just have a better standard of living than they would if they had stayed in the UK.   So based on this idea that Turks have, there has been a dramatic increase in burglaries in recent years.   Not to mention the way that foreigners are sometimes ripped off when it comes to buying property.

A lot of the restaurants in tourist areas have two differently priced menus...one for Turks, and a more expensive one for tourists.  Often foreigners, even those who have lived here for a long time, are charged more in markets and shops for goods.   I get the impression from people who have come to Turkey regularly for years for their holiday, are becoming disillusioned, and feel that the country and it's people are not the same as they once were.

On the other side of the coin,  some tourists (particularly British I'm embarrassed to say) come here with a strange attitude towards Turks.  They can be rude and offensive and treat restaurant and hotel staff like they are inferior.  They get drunk night after night, get into fights and generally make nuisances of themselves.  The Turks tolerate this behaviour well.  They have no choice.  They have a short summer season in which to earn as much as they can to survive the winter when there is no work.

Sadly, the introduction some years ago of All-inclusive holidays has, I feel, had a detrimental effect on tourism.   People don't leave their hotels where their food and drinks are included in their holiday price.   As a result local businesses lose out.   So when restaurants do get customers, they over-charge them.  They rip them off in the markets.  They are so desperate to earn money that they are less than honest in their attempts.

It's a vicious circle.

Something has to change for tourism in Turkey to be as good as it was years ago.  I don't know how it's possible to get things back on track, or whether it's maybe too late.

PS.  I typed this post last night, having heard from Mr A that his car which he parks overnight just outside the hotel was damaged.  Sometime during the early hours of the previous morning, someone had smashed all the windows.  This act of mindless vandalism made me stop and think about how when I first came to live here, this sort of thing would never happen.  You could safely leave your car overnight, even with the keys in the ignition, and it wouldn't be touched.

Shopkeepers would leave their stock outside their shops overnight and know that nothing would be touched.

It saddens me to even think about how much things are changing in this beautiful country.

30 comments:

  1. You're right about it being a viscous circle.
    My dad and stepmum have been coming to Turkey every year for the past 13 years.. This is the first year they haven't in ages, they too say it's too expensive now and the hassling and ripping people off just didn't happen when they first started coming. Worrying.. I think alot of people agree with you as everywhere is getting quieter even in the height of the season.. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The tourist boom years are certainly long gone Danni. I want Mr A out of tourism this year, because he's not getting any younger, and the long hours are taking their toll. And then with a bit of luck I might actually see him enough to realise that I am still married to him!

      Delete
  2. All included holidays are great for the big chains that tend to own these hotels...but no good whatsoever for spreading the tourist money around generally.

    Similar phenomenon in Costa Rica, too.

    I think governments do nothing about it because their tourist officials find it easier to deal with big organisations than bother about helping truly local efforts to succeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a great shame Helen. There is now so much competition between the tour operators to give the cheapest deal on all-inclusive, so corners are cut. Not only does this affect the quality of food and drink being dished up in the hotels, which tourists mistakenly believe is typical Turkish food, but the employees are paid peanuts and therefore don't give the sort of service that people want. Holidaymakers go away feeling disgruntled, and don't return.

      Delete
  3. When we first came Ayak, people generally worked in the area that they were brought up in. Now hundreds of thousands move into the summer resorts to work. Respect for your own environment seems easier to maintain. This is why I try and stay off the Bodrum peninsual during the tourist season. It hasn't always been rosy In the 80s at the end of the building season, the police used to check buses going back East with all the migrant workers to recoup items stolen in Bodrum a few days previously. Annie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes of course BtoB, the migrant workers are not going to have the same respect for the environment in which they work for the season, and are only interested in earning money to take back to the home towns and villages.

      I didn't realise there was a problem in the 80s too. So it goes back further than I thought :-(

      I've had just one short trip into Bodrum all summer....and that was once too many.

      Delete
    2. BtoB has a right point. Turkey's tourism's biggest problem is migrants from the southeast side of the Turkey mostly kurds. They are very low educated and very poor and also have little respect to the other people and environment. Don't get me wrong, I am not being racist but this is the case, if you look at the crime and rape reports you can see it.

      Delete
    3. You could be right. Although I don't know that it's fair to say it's mostly kurds. I think there are also a fair amount of Turks who are unscrupulous. But I take your point. I think also if workers were paid better for the extremely long hours that they are forced to work, then maybe they would have more respect, and be less inclined to turn to crime to supplement their meagre income.

      Delete
  4. Oh dear, Ayak. The news we hear of Turkey is not good. It's such a shame that it's no better from the 'ground' - such a pity that someone has wilfully damaged your car.
    Difficult not to stray into the political arena - capitalism and materialism prey on the greed and envy of the susceptible and on those who feel the need for an 'all-inclusive escapism holiday' and on those whom it is all too easy to exploit.
    I think you are right to comment on it. It is so much easier to keep one's eyes to the rosy - but what is going on in the world right now is truly appalling - it's vital we look around.
    Axxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annie, I think it's all to easy to see the rosy side of life, and I do tend to try to be positive about this country. There is still a lot to be positive about, but things are getting worse, and it does make me sad.

      Delete
  5. Hi Ayak. I am more and more disillusioned with living here and as you probably know, I have been here more than I have been in England - about 35 years. Yes, things are definitely changing and changing faster than we can even keep up with. Here in our village of Assos, the rate of change - and not for the better I may add - is pretty devastating. I am unsure of the way forward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will notice the changes more than most Claudia, having lived here for so long. I know you were pretty much in the thick of it in Istanbul recently, and that must have come as quite a shock. What a pity Assos is changing too. I don't know the way forward either.

      Delete
  6. Every morning when I open up to read the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper I automatically get a headache....especially when I see Erdogan :-(
    Yes I did notice a change when I was there a few months ago.....and it's not for the better.
    My husband who is from there is so upset and he can't believe how fast it is changing and is worried about his family.

    Just hope for the best...take care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think there is a great deal of uncertainty about what the future holds Erica. Although I don't have much respect for the current government, I wonder if there is a better alternative party.

      Delete
  7. Dear Ayak,
    I have always admired your fairness in your comments about your life there and your personal observations about life in general. But calling it a dictatorship? Isn't it a bit out of context? Don't get me wrong we had our sultans and then two dictators then some generals through coups through out the history and there are still reminiscent of these events in the army and government entities and but not for the last 15 years or so. You may not like the elected office but I get offended when the "d" word is used so liberally. If anything the possibility of a future coup has been greatly prevented with these elected officials.
    I am sorry about the petty crime in your area. I am from Istanbul and I am no stranger to theft but vandalism is odd! That is something I ran more in to here in US.
    The tourism is a vicious machine that kills local business and beauty. It is feeding the greedy side of business owners. There is a deeply rooted culture of hosting guests in turkey but unfortunately local people do not treat tourists as hosts or guests but fat cats.
    Growing up I remember seeing educational videos at school saying that we should treat foreign tourists nicely because they bring money to our country. What a shame to train little kids like this, but it happened.
    Good luck with the car.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Seabell. Thankyou for your comment. Seeing the current leader as a dictator or not depends on which side of the political fence you sit doesn't it? This is my view, and one shared with many at this point in time. I deliberately didn't want to get into any political debate, which is why I touched on the subject only briefly...maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it at all, except that it's impossible to ignore what's going on.

      I agree with your views on tourism, and yes people here certainly do see tourists as fat cats, and it's sad to think that kids are encouraged to see this.

      Vandalism is a new phenomena to me here too. I was surprised when Mr A told me. I could understand it to a point if the car windows were smashed to steal things from inside the car but this wasn't the case. I feel, and he does too, that it was most likely drunken tourists. I'm afraid this kind of behaviour is all too common in the UK.

      The car is now fixed, thanks, and an unwanted expense when Mr A's earnings this year leave a lot to be desired :-(

      Delete
  8. As you know, I bought a house in Turkey and hope to retire there, I love the people, the country and the culture. I still hope this dream will come true xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so too auntiegwen. Living here is very much different to spending holidays here. But I'm sure it will be some time before you retire. Let's try to stay positive :-)

      Delete
  9. The following is from the Encyclopaedia Britannica:

    Dictatorship - form of government in which one person or a small group possesses absolute power without effective constitutional limitations. Dictators usually resort to force or fraud to gain despotic political power, which they maintain through the use of intimidation, terror, and the suppression of basic civil liberties. They may also employ techniques of mass propaganda in order to sustain their public support.

    I think that pretty much sums up the political situation in Turkey and can't believe that there are still people misguided (brainwashed?) enough to deny it!

    Sorry Ayak, I understand if you choose to post this response but I couldn't stop myself from writing it! I've recently returned to the UK and I won't be living in Turkey again, that's for sure. There are far too many people agreeing with oppression, police brutality and censorship of speech for my liking.

    I'm sad to hear about Mr A's car. I agree that it's more likely to be drunken holidaymakers than Turks, but also agree that crime is on the increase in general. Capitalism has an awful lot to answer for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankyou Lilli. Of course I am happy to post your comment. Very accurate description from Encyclopaedia Britannica I would say, and yes pretty much sums up the political situation here. I'm afraid the supporters of the current government are either blinkered or in denial, or perhaps benefit from their policies in some way. Who knows?

      I think it's a shame you won't be coming back, but I can understand your decision. I am still trying to be optimistic...for what it's worth.

      Delete
  10. Really sorry to hear about the car. Such a needless expense. Though mindless vandalism is something we experienced far more frequently in the UK.

    Like you, we don't talk about the political situation here.

    I think it's a real pity that Turkey has gone for the 'mass tourism' rather than the 'cultural tourism' or 'green tourism' both of which can be money spinners for a country and tend to have less deleterious effects.

    We don't really experience the dual pricing here - but we know which market stalls to avoid and try to buy our clothes out of tourist season. My personal pet peeve is the neighbours' children who follow us down the street asking for money. They know full well we won't give them money (in fact they were very surprised and polite when we gave them sweets at Bayram).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. omentide, I've not had much experience of children asking for money, although occasionally there will be woman sitting on the street in Milas, holding a baby and begging. This happens all over Turkey and I have been told the babies are drugged, to enable the mother to stay out longer to beg. I don't know how true this is. It worries me but I'm not sure what to do about it. It's not the same woman each time, so I guess reporting to the police won't do any good.

      I don't like the way tourism is nowadays. Cheap holidays with alcohol included in the price more often than not attract the kind of people you wish wouldn't come here.

      Delete
  11. Troubled times Ayak, I had hoped that as Turkey wasn't occupying quite as many UK headlines as a few weeks ago, maybe there was a feeling things were a little better. I suspect it is just that Syrian troubles are getting the higher profile. I am so sorry to hear about the car...you do wonder what makes people do things like that don't you, but I suspect the whole economy, and fear for what lies ahead means that some people act without recognising the hurt they are causing other people.
    Your post has certainly got a lot of people thinking about where they stand on the situation in Turkey. Well done for posting it. Jx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Janice. Like omentide said above, they don't talk about it and I am almost the same. It's sometimes best for foreigners to keep their opinions to themselves. You won't see much in the UK (or other countries) press because this government make sure you don't. And I'll leave it there.

      Delete
  12. Like Janice, I'd been hoping that less news meant the political situation was improving a little in Turkey, Ayak, and I'm sorry this isn't the case.

    I've mentioned before my dislike of all-in holidays and the way they enable people to visit a foreign country without actually learning anything about it or encountering its people other than the hotel employees. But I'm sad to learn that their growth is changing the behaviour of other people working in tourism as they try to earn their share of tourist income.

    As for Mr A's poor car, unfortunately vandalism is increasing everywhere, even in Turkey and our rural French backwater, where reports of vandalism (definitely not by drunken tourists) crop up regularly in the local paper nowadays. Sadly many people feel less and less connection to their local community so it becomes easier to do destructive things there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perpetua, as far as the political situation is concerned, it's difficult to say whether things will improve. I'm not sure a general election would solve the problem. If the current party don't regain power, I'm not sure there is an alternative party that is much better.

      I can almost make excuses for crimes such as theft and burglary, but vandalism for the sake of it just makes my blood boil.

      Delete
  13. I first came to Turkey as young girl in 1985 with my parents.
    How things have changed since then and I agree Linda, with everything you say.
    I met my Turkish husband in 1987 and we married in 1988. Back then, people didn`t lock their doors and everyone was pleasant and helpful.
    No one had anything much, so there was nothing to steal.
    When I came here to live permanently, I was shocked at the number of assaults on holidaymakers, the house burglaries and the car vandalism.
    People have changed and not for the better. They are jealous of anyone who has more than them, despite the fact that those people have worked damned hard to get it.
    I so agree with you Linda that people will get into debt for the latest mobile `phone or tablet and then when they cannot pay resort to stealing.
    I have been ripped off many times, but not in recent years, because I have become a lot harder in my dealings with people.
    My late husband nearly got ripped off in the local market. He asked for a kilo of fasulye, there was no price, so he asked the stallholder, then a woman came and asked the price and it was 1 lira less. He went ballistic and had a huge row with the guy and it ended up with most of the beans being tipped onto the road!!!
    When we were building the house, we got a bill from the electricians who were friends with my husband, for an insane amount.
    I went into town and showed another electrician what had been done and he said the bill was more than twice what is should be.
    I immediately got in my car and drove to Soke, I was seething and ready to explode.
    I went into the premises and I wasn`t calm, everyone was looking and probably thinking who is this mad Englishwoman? Eventually the proprietor came and invited me into his office. I politely declined and said we can talk here and all of the people here can listen to our conversation. He became agitated but I told him in no uncertain terms that he was a rip off merchant and worse he was ripping off a friend and fellow Turk. I told him, here is the money I am prepared to pay for the job, if you don`t like it, you can take me to court. I demanded a receipt and flounced out, feeling rather proud of myself.
    So the moral of the story is, even Turkish people get ripped off!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! I like your style Fleur. This is the way to deal with being ripped off and more of us should follow your example. It's a pity though that we even have to think of doing it. And I am a little surprised that Turks are ripped off over things like this, although I have of course experienced Mr A not being paid by Turkish bosses for months of work. It's a sad fact that even this nation of kind and generous people can be capable of sheer greed.

      Delete
  14. You're absolutely right Ayak that this country is changing and it is not for the better. And I share the very same opinion with you about the dictatorian state this country is headed fullspeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Goodness knows what will happen next jedi lost. It's very worrying

      Delete

I love getting comments, but don't feel obliged...I'm just happy you're reading my blog.

Posts are moderated to avoid spam, so if you post under "Anonymous",leave your name at the end of your comment so that I know it's a "real" person!.

If you would like to help my rescue dogs and the strays (dogs and cats) of our village and local industrial estate, please email me for details at lindaikaya@hotmail.com Thankyou x