When we booked our honeymoon the travel agent had to ask if we were aware of the ‘issues’ in Turkey and to confirm we were happy to go. He’s known our family for years and booked countless holidays to Turkey for us so knew we were absolutely fine with going but still had to ask anyway.
We’ve just got back from a week in Antalya, further round the coast than I’ve ever been and the only difference was the language. Where I’ve always gone to Bodrum where they automatically assume you’re English, there they assume you’re German and there is a split second of ‘hmm English’ where they try and remember how to speak it. I know enough Turkish to get by politely but I’m nowhere near as fluent as I’d like to be and I have massive respect for these people who have to know a multitude of languages for their job.
I feel safe in Turkey. While we were there the only thing that happened was a storm that wasn’t near us. What happened in England? A 14 year old was raped, yet more acid attacks, someone got their throat slashed in Southampton and there were riots in London.
Anywhere in the world you can get hurt at random and you can’t let that stop you living life.
I’ve been lucky enough to have gone to Turkey since I was 12 so I’ve effectively grown up knowing the holiday side of it. Yes it’s significantly different to actually living there but I genuinely feel safe there and wouldn’t worry about walking down the road on my own. I’ve never had any form of abuse if I’ve been in shorts or a bikini, I’ve seen plenty of girls in Burkhas and not one of them has looked at me disgustedly or anything like that. The most violence I’ve seen is a scrap that got out of hand one night between some drunk tourists when myself and a few friends (group of girls) were sat in a bar after it had closed, just having a few drinks. The staff immediately grabbed us and shut us in the bar with the doors closed so we were away from it.
There’s the media side of Turkey, encouraged by the likes of the Daily Fail, who want you to think it’s a dangerous country full of oppression and misery. Then there’s the real side. The side where the waiters stand and chat while making your drinks. The side where the cleaners leave little notes for you saying they wish you a nice time. The side where you forget you’re the foreigner in their country because they’ve made you feel so welcome.
Before I met Ben I was looking at moving to Bodrum and working in the hotel we always stayed at. Nobody had any doubts I would do it, I’m stubborn as hell and when I set my mind on something it generally ends up being done. Obviously things changed and that didn’t happen but the hotel manager had always said they would sort out accommodation, visas, flights etc. It didn’t phase me that I would’ve been moving to a country where I only knew the holiday side of it, only knew a handful of people and had a basic grasp of the language. I knew it would’ve been fine regardless.
I’ll never not go to Turkey. Even when I get weird looks from people asking why I go to a “dangerous” place. I always say the same thing, you could walk out your house and get hit by a car and then what? Is your house suddenly a dangerous place as well? Turkey is a beautiful country with the friendliest people I’ve ever met so why would we stop going?