IF anyone is shipping goods back to the UK in the next four months, and would have room in their container for approximately 3 cu m of personal possessions (books, clothing, kitchen items), all packed in small boxes, would they please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
My possessions are near Akbuk. I would be happy to pay my share of the costs.
RESIDENTS in Didim may well find out they have been charged a small sum for ‘environmental cleaning’.
It emerged when Voices was contacted by a couple of readers as they went to pay their council tax this week – as usually the end of January is the payment deadline for the first six months of the year.
Fortunately, council tax has NOT gone up massively compared to the 110 percent it had last year. This year’s tax has only nominally increased by about 5TL per person declared on the Tapu (title deed).
However, this environmental charge, which dates back to the second half of last year, and apparently relates to bin collections and solid waste removal.
This, element, has always been collected and rounded up within the council tax invoice to residents, but, at least, for two readers, they were handed a separate invoice for the environmental charge.
Breaking it down, the charge amounted to 15.89TL for the second half of 2015; a total of 74.44TL (37.22TL each for the two six-month segments of 2016). There was also a tax – KDV of 18 percent – totalling 16.26TL and 1TL for late payment.
From what we can ascertain from having spoken to council sources, the environmental cleaning charge covers just that: bin collection, workers walking the roads picking up rubbish and a street cleaning truck for the kerbsides.
WORK is moving quickly on the hole that has been dug out beside Burger King in Didim.
A concrete base has been laid and workmen were busy everywhere when Voices paid a visit Friday afternoon.
The eventual development is rumoured to be an underground car park with a two extension to the side of Burger King and Carrefour.
HERE’S an update today on some of the bars and restaurants that are undergoing changes – some big, some small.
WORK continues apace this morning on the storm drain network that is set to solve the town’s 30-year-old flooding problems in parts of Altinkum.
Pipework threading from Main Beach through Dolphin Square and to the side of the Didim Shopping Mall appears complete.
Work is now concentrated advancing up the side of Ataturk Boulevard heading away from Main Beach and then it will cut in down the side of the back road where the Altinkum Mosque is and continues to run towards Hunters Valley.
Mr Atabay said he was confident that the work will be completed before the summer season.
He said that he hoped the work would help solve a 30-year problem that had blighted the area and caused flooding damage to hotels, local business and homes.
A new feature from Voices is a picture gallery of what’s going on in the resort presently.
Building work is kicking on in a number of places:
POLICE have detained 12 people at seven addresses in Didim as part of an ongoing inquiry stemming from a December 20 rally in the town.
Officers from the anti-terrorism bureau also seized documents, a gun, cartridges and pictures as part of the investigation.
The 12, aged between 18 and 38, were taken into custody on an inquiry looking into “of making propaganda for a terrorist organization, praising crime and criminals”.
Three were released, while the other nine were referred to court after the public prosecutor’s office opened an investigation against them. The investigation continues.
THE MANDATORY health cover element for foreign residents living in Turkey for more than a year could be reversed, the head of the country’s SGK has said.
Ilhan Gokalp, the head of the Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu (SGK), is reported to have suggested the compulsory health cover option for those living for more than a year in Turkey between the ages of 18 and 65 will be lifted.
His comments were reported in the Millyet Newspaper and later picked up by the Turkish website reporting for the country’s accountancy industry.
The address highlights several points that will have to be ratified by the Turkish parliament on the early retirement of 300,000 Turks.
However, in the very last paragraph, it was noted that those foreign residents that have been living in Turkey for more than a year would be given the choice of whether they wanted to continue with health cover or not.
At the moment, health cover – either SGK or private health insurance is compulsory – certainly as part of the residence permit process.
However, it does not go into any further detail as to when it might be implemented or the ins and outs of the proposal.
The full text of the paragraph in Turkish reads: “Ulkemizde biy yildan cok ikamet eden yabancilardan zorunlu olarak GSS primi (aylik 250 lira gibi) odemeleri uygulamasina da son veriliyor. Bundan boyle sadece isteyen yabanaci GSS primi odeyecek.”
Which essentially translates back as “There’ll be an end to the compulsory SGK for foreigners that have lived here for more than one year. From now on only those who want to will pay SGK.”
This would potentially reverse the mandatory nature of health cover for foreigners even though that is presently required as part of the new residence permit application. From the full text of the report, it suggests this will have to be ratified by Parliament before it becomes live.
The health cover applies to those up to the age of 65 and became mandatory with the advent of the new application process for the foreign residence permit in April 2014. It is not compulsory for those to have health cover over the age of 65.
In 2010, attempts were made for all foreign residents living in Turkey to sign up to universal health insurance. That was subsequently dropped, but then re-instigated as part of the new residence permit process.
PLANS for an open prison – with an exclusive sea view of the Aegean – on the outskirts of Didim have resurfaced – more than a year after they were apparently dropped.
The local council is attempting to find out further information on interior ministry plans to use several thousands acres of government owned land between Tasburun and Akkoy as an open prison.
The project was first mooted by the Ministry of Justice. The location is on the way to the Aqua Park, past Mavisehir. The allocated area lies on a hill and less than three kilometers from the Aegean shoreline.
It was suggested back in 2014 that prisoners would be used to contribute in the development of olive cultivation and animal husbandry.
At the time, it was understood the Ministry of Finance had conducted the matter in great secrecy with the General Directorate of National Property, sensing the location would take many by surprise.
Didim Council appealed, based on the fact that it would impact its tourism industry adversely, and was apparently dropped.
However, Didim Mayor Deniz Atabay, said the plans had again been tabled in ongoing correspondence between a number of ministries.Didim prison construction came up first on May 12, 2014. Didim Governor
The ruling CHP party in Aydin is now being tasked with finding out about the development and to get to the bottom of the truth of what the government plans to use for the land.
Mr Atabay said the area being considered was enormous from an area close to Akkoy running down to the sea edge Taşburun.
He said that he plans to meet with the Aydin Governor next week to oppose the project, given that it also covers part of the Sacred Way and is considered a natural protected area.
DIDIM’S worst kept secret – its new Ataturk statue – has been unveiled with a bit of pomp and ceremony.
A new 5.5 metres high and 2.5m wide statue, (8m high including the pedestal) was installed on the junction opposite the former Law Courts and the turn for Yenihisar on Atturk Boulevard. Sculptor was Eray Okkan.
The unveiling of the statue conincided on the same day as the launch of the Turkish flag on a new 60m high pole standing on the coast of Didim at Aytepe.
The Ataturk statue unveiling was attended by Didim Governor Ishkender Yonden, mayor Deniz Atabay and other local dignitiaries. There was also a band on hand to deliver a bit of pomp to the proceddings which were also attended by scores of locals.
Speaking at the unveiling, Mr Atabay expressed satisfaction at the new dramatic statue.
After speeches, a ribbon was cut at the official opening.
Pictures have been kindly supplied by Suzanne Dereli
Refugees detained by Coast Guard
The flood of refugees into the Didim region as they set off on their final journey to Greece and into Europe fails to cease.
This week, the Coast Guard and local authorities detained 208 Syrian refugees as they travelled in a 22-metre long wooden boat from Taşburun.
They were rescued as the boat’s engine room began to take on water and there were fears that it would sink. Most of those rescued were either women and children.
Teen arrested for “refugee trafficking”
A LOCAL 14-year-old has been detained after he was apparently caught in a charge of a speedboat with 34 Syrian refugees on board heading to the Greek islands
Coast Guard officials reacted when they spotted the speedboat off the local coast. The refugees were sent to immigration authorities, while the teenager was detained for questioning.
Lights for pine forest
Didim Mayor Deniz Atabay has spoken of his delight that the council has completed work on installing street lights in and around and the Pine Grove, opposite Didim Luna Park.
Mr Atabay said the area was previously security problem for tourists and locals due to the lack of lighting at night.
He said residents were pleased with the work done with lamps illuminating both the street and the pine forest area.
DIDIM police are investigating the murder of a mother-of-four after an alleged meeting with her former partner resulted in her being stabbed to death.
Reports suggest that the former wife of the main suspect was the mother of four children from their relationship. This relationship had ended and the man had gone on to father two children with his second wife.
However, the former partners had met to discuss the care of their children at a second floor apartment in Sokak 1347, in Efeler district, late last week.
During this meeting an incident occurred in which the former wife received a number of stab wounds which proved fatal.
Police were alerted and called to the scene where the woman (40) was found dead. A suspect who had fled in a car was later detained and remains in custody while inquiries continue.
POLICE have revealed that a Glock, two Uzis, gun cartridges and a Barretta have been recovered in three separate incidents over January 4-5.
Glock and Uzis recovered
The Glock and two Uzi submachine guns were recovered hidden in a stove bucket at a house in Tasburun, close to Mavisehir, at 6.30pm on Tuesday January 5.
Police also recovered two silencers, 8 mobile phones, 1 drone, 47 TCI-made 7.65 mm pistol cartridges and 76 TCI-made 9 mm pistol cartridges.
Four suspects aged between 30 and 53, were arrested and police determined there were outstanding arrest warrants for some of them.
The Istanbul Court for Serious Crimes had previously ruled for the arrest of one for producing drugs and two other crimes, while the Court of Serious Crimes in İzmir had previously ruled for the arrest of another suspect for selling drugs.
Bullet horde discovered in car
Police have found a horde of bullets in a car in Hisar district which has since led to the recovery of suspected stolen goods from a house in Didim.
On Monday January 4 at about 11pm, a car failed to stop for a routine traffic stop. A brief car chase entailed and was eventually stopped in Hisar.quarter.
One person (21) was detained, while two others fled the scene. Police then found in the car boot 43 Kalashnikov bullets, 33 shotgun cartridges, 47 x 7.65 caliber pistol cartridge and 76 x 9 mm pistol bullets.
This then led to police to carry out a house in Hisar where they recovered three computer monitors, 1 LCD TV, 1 computer chassis, 4 mobile phones, 1 camera, 2 binoculars, watches and other jewellery.
Three suspects were eventually detained pending inquiries.
On Monday January 4, police seized a Baretta gun, cartridges and a Syrian passport after they stopped a car on Yali Cadessi.
Didim District Police Department said that people were detained but released pending ongoing enquiries.
AN EXPAT has gone ‘fruit’n’nut’ after a PTT ‘choc-block’ on a special festive package for her four children.
Jill Robinson, from Didim, was left stunned when Aydin Post Office declared that she wouldn’t be able to pick up her 20 kilogramme package containing at least 16 kilos of chocolate for Christmas.
A Customs manager ruled that she could only import 2 kilogrammes of chocolate per package.
She was advised she could send the package back to the UK – which had been delivered via Parcelforce – and then re-send several separate packages containing a maximum 2 kilos of chocolate per package.
Jill said: “I am gutted that the package has been standing at Aydin, having come through Istanbul and we will now be able to get our hands on it. The chocolate was for my children for Christmas.
“I feel Christmas has been cancelled because of this customs policy of 2 kilos of chocolate. I had never heard of it and was surprised when I was told as much.”
She added: “We have pleaded with Aydin, but they are not having any of it. We even offered to pay the tax on the package, but they said ‘no’. They did send us a package of 2 kilos of chocolate chosen from the package, but that’s not the issue.”
She said the package, valued at about £175, would have to be written off.
Jill said: “I am absolutely angry that they suggested I could resend it to the UK and then send it back broken down in 2 kilo packages. It amounts to the same thing, The whole situation is crazy.
“And it’s all for a bit of chocolate.”
ALTINKUM is to undergo a fresh round of demolitions as a second phase of ‘beautification’ gets underway this winter between Medusa Disco and Tuntas Hotel (also referred to as Second Beach).
Didim mayor Deniz Atabay revealed on a visit to side streets opposite Dolphin Square that a fresh round of demolition – from buildings to illegal pergolas – has already got underway.
Voices was the first newspaper to reveal the impending project some 10 days ago.
Didim Council last year launched a crackdown on Yale Street – Altinkum’s main boulevard – and it appears that is now being extended to the Üç Mevsim Caddesi and to other end of Altinkum across to Tuntas Hotel.
Mr Atabay said: “After issuing notices to various places, our project is now being implemented. It is good to see that workplaces have started to respond. Altinkum in the new season will be more beautiful and more modern in terms of aesthetics.
“Demolitions are now underway.”
He added: “This gentrification and beautification project will be spread over time in all districts. Beauty and aesthetic tourism is a must and we will continue hand in hand with businesses.
“The time for permanent change is today not tomorrow. Business owners will experience difficulties and disruptions over time, but we want to improve the resort.”
Further works ordered by the council will be revealed in due course.
ENTRY prices to some of Turkey’s popular historic attractions are to increase in the New Year – with some rising as high as 400 percent.
Despite experiencing a decline in the number of visitors heading through the entrance to some of the best historic sites on the globe, the Culture and Tourism Ministry will ring the changes from January 4, 2016.
Voices has learned that entry prices to Didim’s historic sites – such as Apollo Temple, Priene and Miletus – will remain unchanged.
However, other sites have not fared so well and the increases have caused consternation among some tourism experts.
Deniz Managers of Touristic Hotels and Enterprises Association President Gazi Murat Şen told Zaman the price hike will further decrease visitor numbers to the archeological sites, which are an important part of Turkey’s tourism sector.
Underlining that the price rise will automatically increase the prices for tour operators, Şen said it will negatively affect the sales of tourist group package tours.
He highlighted the entrance price increases for the Pamukkale travertine terraces and archeological sites. The ticket price to access the travertine terraces will be increase from TL25 to 35 TL and [this] will further decrease the number of visitors in 2016.”
According to the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the number of tourists who visited the museums and archeological sites in Antalya in the last 11 months decreased by nearly 30 percent. The highest loss of visitors was at St. Nicholas Church in Demre where the number of visitors fell from 375,000 in 2014 to 223,000 in 2015.
The number of visitors to access the ancient city of Myra also fell from 313,000 to 176,000 over the same period. While 103,000 visited the Perge archeological site in 2014, the number came down to 44,000 in 2015.
According to the new price list by the Culture and Tourism Ministry for the archeological sites, entry to some of the museums and archeological sites are increased as follows:
Topkapı Palace Museum from 30TL to 40TL;
The harem at Topkapı Palace from 15TL to 25TL;
Hagia Sophia Museum from 30TL to 40TL;
Olympos from 5TL to 20TL;
Ephesus from 30TL to 40TL
Pammukale travertine terraces: 25TL to 35TL
Meanwhile the below prices for archaeological sites and museums in the Aydin area will be effective from January 4:
Miletus ruins: 10TL;
Miletus Museum: 5TL;
Priene ruins: 5TL;
Afrodisyas Museum and ruins: 15TL;
Karacasu Ethnographic Museum: Free;
Arkeoloji Müzesi: 8TL;
Yörük Ali Efe Evi Museum: Free
Etnografya Müzesi: Free
Nysa (Sultanhisar) ruins: 5TL
Alinda ruins: Free
Magnesia ruins: 5TL
Aydın Alabanda ruins: 5TL
THE bottom end of Altinkum’s Ataturk Boulevard has been closed to traffic as flood alleviation work moves up a notch.
Massive pipework is being lowered at the bottom of the Boulevard, while diggers are currently ploughing up the sidewalk on the Hotel Horizon side of the Boulevard going up and beyond Sevil’s Dentist Centre which is opposite Temple Hotel.
The Karakol Cadessi area to the side and in front of the Didim Shopping Centre is presently closed to traffic and a detour is in place for that bottom of the Boulevard.
The work is expected for another few months yet.
BURGER King in Didim will remain closed for at least 15 days, Voices has learned.
A massive digging operation continues apace in the shared Carrefour car park but parts of the Burger King restaurant has been left sitting precariously on the edge of the massive hole.
The development work is part of plans for an underground car park with units on the ground floor. It has been confirmed from at least two sources today that famous shop brand LC Waikiki is being talked up as one of the anchor stores there.
A source familiar with the development work said that Burger King and Carrefour would remain as they were.
However, the big hole next to Burger King has been drawing crowds and the curious as to what is going on.
Voices learned today that Burger King would potentially remain closed for 15 days while the work continued. CarrefourWhile speculation abounds over the eventual outcome of the site, there is always potential for change. So we’ll see what transpires in the weeks ahead.
MONDAY saw the release of 37 people who were detained following a rally on Sunday in Didim against the police and Gendarme crackdown in Turkey’s South East.
The rally, organised by the HDP political party, saw the police use water cannon and teargas to disperse a crowd of about 150 people who had gathered at the old Justice Buildings, at the top of Ataturk Boulevard, on Sunday afternoon.
Tensions rose when the group wanted to walk to the Ataturk Square, but were blocked by police officials with riot shields.
A total of five people were injured and treated at Didim State Hospital, including one woman with tear gas exposure.
On Monday, 37 detained people were released by the local court.
The rally, along with others across the country, had been held in protest at the ongoing crackdown in the south-east of Turkey against the PKK in towns across the south-east.
Police explained they had stopped the rally and called on people to disperse as it was an illegal gathering.
I woke up on our second to last day in İdil feeling excited for Bayram celebrations and confident that we would have a good day, free from the sound of guns and bombs.
I got up and dressed the children in their Bayram outfits and put my own Bayram outfit on. It wasn’t an easy task getting ready, weaving between the luggage to find that missing eyebrow pencil or that stray hijab pin. Practically unpacking some of the haphazardly overloaded cases to find the perfect headscarf, but everything had to be perfect.
I eventually joined my husband and children outside. My heart simultaneously rose and sunk as I saw the happy faces of those that I wouldn’t be seeing for a long time.
The faces I had gotten used to seeing every day, the people I knew I could always turn to for help. We walked behind the house and across the dry fields to my sister in law’s house, where we would be having our lunch. As we entered her garden, I saw her sitting at the end of her long garden.
My eyes drank in the sights as I tried to commit it all to memory, the large leafy flowers looking like they belong to an exotic jungle rather than a garden in South East Turkey, the rows of organic green beans, tomatoes and aubergines, the balcony where we had sat for many an evening and I had had some of the best and worst evenings of my life and last but not least my husband’s sister crouching next to a huge pot of simmering lamb, cooked on an open fire.
I felt my insides twist with uncertainty as I saw my husband hold his 7 month old great nephew. How could we leave all that we knew? Those that we love? Would they be safe after we had gone and how would my husband cope knowing that his family are in daily danger? He had a smile on his face, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes. I knew that whatever sadness I was feeling he must be feeling it so much more deeply.
After we had eaten a meal big enough to feed ten people, we decided to make a move to my husband’s cousin’s house, also home to one of the few friends I had made whilst in İdil.
We arrived to more open arms and did the customary kiss on each cheek and wished each other a happy bayram. My best friend was also there and we went into the kitchen for our usual chat whilst we prepared salad and bread ahead of the evening meal.
There were moments when I had to swallow the lump in my throat as I thought about how much I would miss these people, such key figures in my life for the past three years. I saw them almost daily and now I wouldn’t see them for maybe a year, maybe more.
Of course in this day and age with technology it is easier to keep in touch but it just isn’t the same.
As we all crowded round the barbecue outside and the children played happily in the vast garden, the now familiar heartache returned. My heart remained heavy throughout the meal and the çay afterwards.
Thus my reluctance to leave when my husband had finished his second glass of tea. My friend and I put up a protest saying it was still early, but he was having none of it. Unwillingly I gathered my belongings and said my goodbyes.
We reached our house and began to sort out more things for packing and giving away. We had been doing this for around 5 minutes when the rapid, all too familiar sound of gunshots came.
As I gathered my children close to me and sat on the floor with my back against the chest of drawers, the heaviness in my heart disappeared as I knew without a doubt we were doing the only thing we could to ensure the safety of our daughters.