I started this website back in January this year to share my love of Turkey through the photos I take when I am there, and to be honest, I am there quite a lot compared to most regular holiday makers. I think it is fair to say I do love the country rather a lot, from it’s stunning scenery and beautiful architecture, through it’s umpteen ancient & historical sites, gorgeous beaches and of course the food…ohhh, the food!! Most of all, I love the friendly, warm and welcoming people – and I am not the only one. Ask anyone for their reasons why they keep coming back to Turkey and don’t be at all surprised when a majority of them mention the people.
Right now, those people need our love and support more than ever, especially those in the coastal towns along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts, where tourism is the main source of income either directly or indirectly. I am sure there are some remote caves, somewhere in the world that haven’t heard of the recent problems in Turkey, but the rest of us live in the modern world with 24 hour rolling TV news and a written media desperate to grab the headlines and our attentions. A spate of terrorist attacks over the last year had already seen visitor numbers drop significantly and the attempted coup a few weeks ago has only heightened fears about stability in the country. Worse, sensationalist reports from some of our less salubrious press outlets has left those of us that visit regularly having to answer the oddest questions from people who have been rather led up the garden path about the reality of life in the holiday resorts at the moment. Sadly I haven’t been out there for the last couple of weeks, it’s a month since I returned from my last trip and another month before the next one, but I do speak to plenty of people who have, as you are about to see if you read on.
I have already seen many wonderful places in Turkey and plan on seeing many more, but my own little bit of Turkish paradise is the small Mediterranean town of Kalkan, on the south west coast. Kalkan is simply one of those places that keeps pulling you back, every other month for me, but whether it’s every year, or even permanently as some of the ex-pat Brits will testify to, it just does! You can read and see photos about Kalkan on another post on this blog, just CLICK, but for now, take my word for it, the laid back Turkish ambience, hospitality and community make it addictive. The question is, given the current problems we are reading about in Turkey, what is it like right now? Is it safe? Are restaurants and bars still open? Is there a curfew? Can we still hire sunbeds on the beach? Are there protesters and/or ISIS fighters on every corner? How quickly can the SAS rescue you? STOP LAUGHING!! These are some of the questions I have seen or been asked personally in the last week alone!
The bottom line is this – our own Foreign Office is still saying it is safe to visit – you can read their full advice HERE, so there is no need to be unduly worried. There are still plenty of flights into Dalaman, rumours of cancellations appear to be exactly that, just rumours. Remember the terror level is exactly the same as here at home in the UK and any ‘hangovers’ from the coup are really only being felt in the larger cities by way of democracy demonstrations. Yes, you may see more security at the airports and experience more random roadside checks when travelling – these things should actually make you feel safer than here at home, they simply demonstrate that care is being taken and security for everyone is being taken seriously, especially tourists. In Kalkan, it is life as normal and shall I tell you how I know that? Because the rest of this post will not be written by me, but by people who have been there in the last few weeks. Holiday makers and residents alike who have actually been in Kalkan and are either very happy to be still be there, or very sad when it’s time to go home, just as it’s always been. A few of us were chatting and wondering how to get the real story out there, how to show people that the beaches are not empty, that visitors are still coming but there is room for many more, that you will have a fabulous holiday in this perfectly relaxed town with oodles of sunshine, the sea, the beach, the harbour, the plethora of restaurants and of course, that unbeatable Turkish welcome. So, here you are, read these comments and have a look at these photos from a few of my friends and acquaintances who have really been there, this week and want to share as a collective what it is really like.
From Paul Smith who has just returned home
I can honestly say that Kalkan is still as peaceful and lovely as ever. This year we came with my parents, 2 friends and their 12yo (who are now hooked) and our 1yo little girl. At no point did we feel unsafe or threatened, and saw no military/coup related action in any way. If anything the local Belediyesi were proactively reassuring locals and tourists with public announcements.
Traveling around Kalkan (to Kas and into the mountains) was no different than any other year, friendly waves and wonderful smiles. Unfortunately Kalkan (and Turkey in general) is so quiet and is in desperate need of support from tourism. I would urge anyone thinking of going, just book it and enjoy a fun filled and relaxing holiday.
We’ve booked for next year and would go back tomorrow if we could.
A few of Pauls photos, mainly of his 1yr old daughter being spoilt rotten by her Turkish fan club.
From Jo Ball and her party of friends who have just come back
We were in kalkan in June celebrating my birthday and have just come back from another fabulous week in July with friends who have young children, so we were there before and after the recent events. Absolutely nothing has changed it is the normal beautiful kalkan and we can’t wait to go back again in September.
Jo and her friends enjoying Kalkan
Sandra Osbourne, local resident
I have known Kalkan for many, many years and lived here for 11. I feel as safe today as the first time I set eyes on the place. Life goes on the same for the locals, you see the mums and kids out shopping and the dads drinking coffee or at work. Kalkan is as calm, peaceful, welcoming and beautiful as ever…
Some of Sandra’s Kalkan photos, all from the last couple of weeks – so much for those empty beaches and doom and gloom some of our newspapers are telling us about!
From Wendy Dewar, who is spending a lot of her summer in Kalkan
I was out drinking with friends in Kalkan when the attempted coup happened. Suddenly my phone was going crazy with people worrying as the UK press coverage was scaremongering. Here in Kalkan life carried on as usual, and we had another drink. The only problem we saw that night was a cat fight, and a very unusual sight the next day…..an owl by the roadside! Apart from that, everything was lovely and peaceful. I had to travel to the UK the next day, and was disappointed my flight wasn’t cancelled. However, I have now returned to this peaceful haven, a female on my own for the whole summer. If I felt one hint of doubt or fear, I wouldn’t have come. But I feel safer here than at home, I have the hot weather, the most breathtaking view, and my beautiful Kalkan friends to look after me. I never feel alone here, the beautiful Turkish people of Kalkan are my family. I am also going to try a spot of yoga this week looking out to sea. So glad I am in paradise right now, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Now let me get back to my wine whilst I watch the sun go down. Happy days………
That beautiful view of the sunset, enjoy your wine Wendy
From Paul Kendrick, who was in Kalkan from the start of July
Spent a fifteen day holiday in Kalkan this year at the beginning of July. Instantly felt we had arrived home as the taxi brought us around the bend on the main road and that view of Kalkan laid out before us takes your breath away. As usual, you get a warm friendly welcome as soon as you arrive. Each year our holiday gets better and better, all the concerns you may have had before leaving England melts away as you settle into the carefree life of Kalkan and it’s people. With boat trips organised, along with a trip into the mountains for a BBQ with Kaya Restaurant for a day, a trip to Kekova to sample history and the beautiful Simena to visit. Beach clubs visited, fun to be had, followed by the biggest decision of the day, which of the many top restaurants Kalkan can boast off, do you choose. Over the years you make great friends with the restaurant owners and staff, so almost a timetable becomes apparent as you make sure you can fit everyone in. Yes, there was the attempted coup near the end of the holiday, but you quickly realise that the holiday coast is almost a different continent to what is happening elsewhere, so peaceful and enjoyable. Everything seemed so normal and safe, just a shame that numbers are low for this classic base for a holiday. Thank you Kalkan, love you.
A few of Pauls photos from his recent trip.
I could go on, adding more and more of these from so many people who love this town, but I think you are already getting the idea. Regardless of the politics, or the inherent risks we all face daily even here in the UK (and lets not even mention Europe right now) from terrorism, these are real people with families and children, just trying to survive and maintain normal lives a long way from the big cities. None of us can absolutely guarantee things will remain the same in the future, but what we can do, is say with absolute certainty that the wonderful Turkish people of Kalkan will bend over backwards to give you the best, most relaxing holiday you ever had. Sunshine is almost guaranteed, the seas are clear and beaches beautiful, the food in Kalkan has a reputation for it’s excellence. All of us that have created this post, and many, many more visitors have made life long friends in Kalkan, it is just that kind of town. So please, come and make friends of your own, and discover why so many people return year after year – the Kalkan Bug really is addictive.
3/08/2016 – Edit: read the comments below too!!