Ukrainians, Russians living in Antalya anxiously following conflict

Ukrainians, Russians living in Antalya anxiously following conflict

Ukrainians, Russians living in Antalya anxiously following conflict

Some 29,000 Russians and 8,000 Ukrainian nationals living in the Turkish southern province of Antalya are anxiously following the Kiev-Moscow conflict as it unfolds.

Many of those Russians and Ukrainians residing in Antalya are working in the province’s large tourism industry.

Antalya is a favorite destination among millions of Russian and Ukrainian holidaymakers. Last year, more than 3.5 million Russians and 1.3 million Ukrainians vacationed in the provinces.

“I am feeling anxious as the situation is tense. When I speak with my family, I can see that they are scared,” said Bakhmat Ekatirina, who came to Turkey from Russia to work.

Sergey Korabin, another Russian national, was in Antalya on a vacation when the clashes began.

“I was in the middle of my holiday when the news broke out. It was shocking to me. Both sides are to blame, that’s I think,” said Korabin.

Darya Yıldız, who moved from Ukraine’s Kharkiv to Antalya and married a Turkish man, also said she was feeling uneasy about the developments.

“I am really scared. I used to speak with my family back home almost every day, but now I am calling them three or four times a day. I am safe here in Turkey, but my mind and heart are in Ukraine,” said Yıldız, who works in the tourism industry.

Oksana Stetsura, another Ukrainian working in the tourism sector, also expressed concern over the latest developments, noting that there are Russians among her colleagues.

Stetsura said she does not want to go back to Ukraine, but if the situation deteriorates, she might consider bringing her family to Turkey.

Meanwhile, the conflict is keeping local hoteliers on the edge, because they fear that Russian and Ukrainian holidaymakers may postpone their travel plans. Despite the pandemic last year, tourism activity in the province recovered thanks to the Safe Tourism Certificate program.

If the conflict escalates, it may hit the local tourism industry, people from the sector said, noting that they are holding talks with tour operators in Russia and Ukraine.

In 2021, Turkey hosted a total of 4.7 million Russian and 2 million Ukrainian visitors. Russians and Ukrainians accounted for 19 percent and 8.3 percent of all foreign tourist arrivals in the country, respectively.