Expensive beach clubs spreading like wildfire across Turkish coasts
BODRUM - HürriyetHaving a dip in the sea has become increasingly more expensive as private beach clubs are spreading like wildfire across Turkey’s popular coastal holiday destinations like Çeşme and Bodrum, generating massive revenues in just one day.
Beach clubs, which rent sandy beaches near touristic resorts, reflect the increasing privatization of what use to be a cheap family activity.
Most of the clubs charge 30-40 Turkish Liras for entry alone, with a bottle of water being sold for 10 liras – 20 times higher than the average market price – and alcoholic beverages costing up to 1,250 liras.
Unlike public beaches, visitors are not allowed to bring their own food and bags are searched on entry by the clubs’ security guards. This leaves people at the mercy of expensive menus, which feature “lahmacun” – a meat filled thin bread, slightly resembling a sauceless pizza – for 30 liras, ten times the average price; stuffed mussels for 20 liras or beer for 25 liras.
With an additional 25 to 30 liras for parking, a day at these lavish beach clubs – just to enjoy the sun and the sea – will cost you around 150 liras.
The clubs usually provide a parasol and a sunbed, but they are usually crammed to enable the maximum number of visitors.
In an attempt to attract young people to their clubs, DJ’s pump up the volume of the music and even organize wild parties, for which a reservation is needed long before the event.
Gangs of sandy beaches
Not all Turkish or foreign tourists can afford to spend such costs in a day and when customers fail to pay the money, they sometimes end up being threatened by bodyguards employed by the beach clubs, as a recent incident in Çeşme showed.
Earlier this week in the Aegean resort of Çeşme, a man was beaten up by bodyguards despite paying over 4,000 liras in one of Çeşme’s most popular beach clubs, “Before Sunset,” following a party. The person beaten claimed bodyguards attacked him after people complained about an American friend in their group who was having a little “too much fun” and behaving “too comfortably.”
This incident resurfaced the debate regarding the shady role security guards and bouncers have at night clubs and restaurants in Istanbul, as well as the mafia-based structure present at these night spots.