Respected BBC journalist Michael Buerk encouraged holidaymakers to visit Turkey once again last weekend. In his article, “Bob along to Bodrum: Tourists are shying away, which means the Aegean is better than ever”, he sings the praises of Bodrum and the Aegean coast.
Michael Buerk is a long time supporter of Turkey and has been visiting the country, and indulging in his passion for sailing along the coast, for more than 20 years. In his piece for the Daily Mail, he reminisces over the beauty of Kocabahce Bay, better known as ‘Sailors Paradise’. It’s a small bay with a rustic restaurant that has attracted the yacht crowd for years. Buerk mentions how he and his wife “watched the palm trees and the oleander grow up to frame the simple wooden building”. How he has “been greedy with the best meze on the Gulf and drunk Raki late into the night with Mehmet” (the owner). He remembers the bay and restaurant filled with foreign yacht owners and remarks on his surprise to find the boats gone, the bay quiet. “This is not paradise lost. It’s paradise abandoned”, he says.
Oceanwide Properties News has said in a few articles recently how good it was to see tourists returning to Turkey. How bars and hotels in Fethiye seem busier this season compared to last – but there’s still a long way to go to start recouping losses. It’s obvious that holidaymakers are still shying away from Turkey given past events. Local businesses are continuing to struggle with only the strong surviving. It’s likely to be many years before we see resorts enjoying the tourist numbers we saw back in 2014.
As Michael Buerk so rightly remarks in the Daily Mail – and please all those concerned about coming to coastal Turkey take heed, “tourists don’t know much about Turkey, and even less about geography, and are spooked by events. No matter the Syrian war is roughly 1,000 miles away – as far as Ukraine is from us [UK]. No matter the bombings have been in Istanbul and Ankara, farther away from somewhere like Marmaris than Cologne is from London. The truth is that Turkey’s resorts feel free, calm and determinedly secular. Selfishly, it’s all great!”.
Michael is no stranger to the Fethiye Region.
Michaels love of sailing and Gocek has often been mentioned in his articles. Back in 2013, he wrote “Michael Buerks Gocek: My kind of town” for the travel pages of the Telegraph. Here he likened Gocek to Dartmouth or Salcombe describing it as, “surrounded by mountains and stunning scenery, boasting an archipelago of beautiful islands. It is the place I love most to go sailing”.
“I feel safer in Turkey than I do in London,” says Buerk.
At the London Boat Show earlier in the year, Dogan News Agency caught up with Buerk. They quote him saying, “I feel safer in Turkey than I do in London. Where I sail is a thousand miles from the Syrian border, it’s a thousand miles to Istanbul” (referring to the Turquoise coast).
Local website Fethiye Times published a great article titled “Why Michael Buerk loves Turkey and for him, it is “problem yok”, back in March. Talking to Jane Akatay via email, Michael gave an insight on where his passion for Turkey stemmed from. Apparently, as a young BBC reporter, he spent time in the country covering the Cyprus crisis in 1974. He was even jailed at one point for trying to film the Turkish forces gathering off the coast, thankfully he was treated well. Whilst covering events he lived in Ankara, and then around the South Coast and Mersin. Michael discovered the joy of sailing in Turkey, particularly the Gokova Coast, in his forties on flotilla holidays with his wife and sons. As his love of sailing grew, his visits to the Turquoise coast became more regular resulting in him owning and mooring yachts in the country. When asked why he loved Turkey so much, he replied, “the water, the landscape, the history, the food, the sailing of course. But most of all the people. We have made many friends and been met with such kindness”.
Tips and recommendations.
Kebab Hospital restaurant in Gocek (due to the amusing name and hospitality), Recips Amigo at Fathom Cove and Ali Tuna’s restaurant above Cold Water Bay near Oludeniz (both only accessible by boat), were all recommended by Michael in the Fethiye Times report. Fethiye Fish Market also comes with his approval in his Telegraph article – restaurant Oztuklu in particular.
PLEASE FORGET CONCERNS AND JUST COME TO TURKEY! LIFE IS TOO SHORT.
If you’re considering a holiday in Turkey but still concerned over safety issues, please consider what the likes of Michael Buerk and those who live here on the coast say – JUST COME TO TURKEY – YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED. YOU ARE PROBABLY SAFER HERE THAN IN LONDON!
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