Life is a beach for tourists in Turkey

Life is a beach for tourists in Turkey

Nazlan Ertan -
Life is a beach for tourists in Turkey Dear tourists, my dear friends from Europe and the United States,

Please do not be afraid to come to Turkey. Everything is fine here and pretty much as usual. I would know, as I have been on an Aegean beach since June 10. Everything is the same as last year. In other words, I am paying big bucks for a glass of mediocre blush and enjoying peace and quiet as some sort of techno blasts through the speakers. In the evenings, I hit Alaçatı and spend my minimal salary on a dinner for four. Yes, the prices are high but it is unpatriotic to question it and praise the lower prices of the Greek islands. After all, this is a time for national unity and we really need to help local business, well, to the local businesses which are not currently in jail for sponsoring terrorism.

Seriously, lying here on the beach, you’d hardly know that there has been a coup attempt – except for the fact that everyone is talking about it. All the people in my yoga class are sure that the Americans were involved. But this is pretty much as usual, too. Analysts, diplomats and politicians may have their doubts about what goes on in the complex world but barbers, taxi drivers and housewives in Turkey always know what happens in the corridors of power. We ordinary Turks know how the American mind works – have we not watched it week after week on the television every night since “Dallas,” when J.R. tried cheating his brother Bobby out of the Ewing Oil shares? I mean, isn’t there anything that you Americans wouldn’t do for oil?

So anyway, everything is the same here. We are drinking Californian zinfandel and blaming the United States for the coup. But then, we always blame the United States for conspiracies, so what’s new in that, I ask you? Surely that should not keep you American tourists from coming here; politics is one thing, recreation is quite another. It’s not like you have never been involved in conspiracies and coups before either. Didn’t Frank Underwood, in the last episode of “House of Cards,” say he was planning something big that would make everyone forget everything else he has done? By the way, please do not vote for Frank Underwood, although his wife is very pretty. 

Some of my European friends say they are hesitant to come to Turkey this year because… well, they give many and mostly inconsistent reasons: First it was the refugees, then it was the crisis with Russia and now the coup. I mean, how unfair can you get? It is the European Union who wants Turkey to take the refugees back and then you say you guys are not coming because there are refugees.

As for the crisis with Russia, what has that got to do with European tourists? Were you coming here to meet Russian people? If that is the case, go to Ukraine. Besides, presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin have rekindled their bad bromance this week, so there!

As for the coup, can’t you just handle a bit of adrenaline? Aren’t you bored out of your wits there – I know each time I see François Hollande, I zap. The Brits are not better off with Theresa May, though thank God there is Boris Johnson now, who, with his bad hair, awful suits and dirty rhyme, can bring a bit of excitement. I read the account of his first day in office and literally choked on the beach: “New York, Washington and other European capitals…” Gosh, what a joke… No, it was real?

Anyway, we will keep you amused once you are here in Turkey. After all, the legal cases against the ironists who have been poking fun at the president have been dropped. Besides, there are all those parodies about Fethullah Gülen nobody minds anymore and jokes about another religious cult leader, Adnan Hoca, whose half-dressed, pretty followers may now be eligible for some of the posts vacated in the education sector. I, my brains half-baked on the beach, am sometimes confused about whether I am reading the website of a regular paper or one of those satirical magazines. A few days ago, I read a tweet that said tourism managers wanted to host people arrested after the coup in the empty hotels on the coast and it took me several seconds to realize that it was not real news.

Suddenly, Turkey has become a kinder place; everybody is apologizing for the mistakes of the past and admits that they have made some wrong alliances. This, in itself, is hardly new – after all, Süleyman Demirel, Turkey’s larger than life statesman, had said, “Yesterday is yesterday, today is today,” and it has been the motto of many politicians here.

The motto of regular Turks? That’s easy: “I will survive.”