National News

MORE than 6.3 million foreigners obtained a Turkish visa in 2015 using the country’s Electronic Visa System, it has been reported.

According to Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, 7,232,322 people applied for a visa through the e-Visa system in 2015, while some 87 percent of all applications (6,343,581) were accepted.

The e-Visa figures showed a 17.4 percent increase in 2015 compared with the previous year.

On average 17,379 e-Visas were granted daily in 2015, with the highest number seen on July 13, 2015, when 46,747 visas were given out.


Image credit: AA

Citizens of the U.K., Iraq, Netherlands, Poland and Belgium were granted the most visas in 2015. It was also reported that $140.66 million in visa fees was collected.

Individuals are able to apply for e-Visas on “” in about three minutes on average. The e-Visa helps eliminate queues at border gates and airports.

The electronic visa system (e-Visa) eliminates queues in border gates and airports.

The e-Visa application was put into service in April 2013.

The countries to which most of the visas were given out to in 2015 were the U.K., Iraq, Netherlands, Poland and Belgium. In addition it is reported that $140.66 million in visa fees was collected.

Evisas from the official website cost just $20. Beware of websites that offer evisa services but at greater costs.

All airports continue to offer visa on arrival desks in 2016 and some airports – Istanbul Ataturk and Izmir – also have self service e-visa kiosks too.

VOICES has been assessing the reactions of tourism bosses on the prospects for Turkey in 2016 post-Istanbul and the views don’t make happy reading.

There appear to be views weighted in speculating that British families will opt for a short-haul sunny holiday to Spain in view of security concerns surrounding Turkey.

Nevertheless, it hasn’t been pointed that where most holidaymakers head for – the likes of Kusadasi, Didim, Bodrum, Marmaris – are but hundreds of kilometres from the main sources of trouble in Istanbul, Ankara, the restive south-east and the Syrian border.

Spain an option

“Turkey specialists will be watching sales this week to see whether they fall off a cliff. The timing couldn’t be worse,” Andy Cooper – a former head of the Federation of Tour Operators – told Travel Weekly describing January as “Turkey’s important booking period.”

A further consequence, he said, could be a leap in the cost of getaways to Spain – sparked by extra demand for flights and accommodation. “It puts huge pressure on Spain, and you end up with a squeeze on beds,” Mr Cooper continued. “Prices go up and capacity runs short.”

Budget hotel problems

Travel Mole, the travel industry website, reporting on the emerging situation, quoted Zekiye Yucel, founder and managing director of AITO specialist operator The Discovery Collection and Ted Wake, joint MD of Kirker Holidays. They agreed that the budget end of the market was likely to be hardest hit by the attack.

“Although we are devastated by the attack, the timing at least was a relief,” said Yucel, “but it will have an impact on bookings, at least initially. The two and three-star hotels will feel it the most.”

“Tourists feel safest in the top hotels, possibly because the people who stay in these hotels are those most accustomed to travelling,” said Wake, adding that some clients ‘will be more determined than ever’ to visit Istanbul following the attack.

View of Bodrum harbor during hot summer day. Turkish Riviera.

Bodrum: a popular haunt for British tourists. AP

He said that top end hotels were likely to use pricing to lure visitors back. “There is no question at all that in the spring there will be good value round in the five-star category,” added Wake. “Our hope is that within a month’s time it would be right for us to try to develop the spring market to Turkey.

Office urged to do more

Meanwhile, Turkey’s tourist office has been called on to do more to promote the destination to UK holidaymakers following yesterday’s attack.

Yucel said travel to Turkey from the UK was already down before Tuesday’s explosion. She added: “I don’t think the tourist office has done enough so far to encourage people from the UK to visit Turkey,” she said. “It needs to do more to reinforce the message that the country is safe for holidaymakers and that it is a safe country to travel to.”

James McKay of Westminster Classic Tours said: “Thankfully, we have no guests in Turkey right now, just plenty of fantastic suppliers, colleagues and friends who are going to have their lives made even more difficult by this dismal turn of events.”

“For now we are just receiving individual cancellations but we believe that in the following days group cancellations will start very intensively,” Yakup Dinler, chief of the Tourist Hoteliers Association in the Turkish region of Cappadocia, was quoted as saying by the Dogan news agency.

He noted cancellations were affecting reservations planned as far ahead as August, the peak holiday season.

Priene-Temple-Lost year

“I see 2016 as a lost year. Germany is the country which has sent us most of the tourists in 2015,” Dinler said.

Cappadocia, a Unesco World Heritage Site in central Turkey, is popular with tourists for its natural beauty, mountains and underground caves, as well as its rich history from the early years of Christianity.

Turkey’s tourism sector has been hit hard in recent months, in part because of renewed violence in the country. A combination of economic decline in Russia and a worsening row between Moscow and Ankara, related to the Turkish downing of a Russian jet near the Syrian border in November, has dramatically reduced tourist numbers.

Elsewhere, German tourism giant TUI said customers who had booked trips to Istanbul can switch destination without penalties, as reported by Agence France-Presse. The operator said customers can also opt to postpone their trip to Istanbul without penalties for the next six days.

Most visits are trouble-free

The UK Foreign Office has not changed its stance on journeys to Turkey, emphasising that “over 2,500,000 British nationals visit Turkey every year. Most visits are trouble-free.”

However, it warns that “there is a high threat from terrorism” – and, in reference to the blast in Istanbul, advises that “if you are in the affected area, you should follow the instructions of the local security authorities.”

BREAKING NEWS Voices and Newswires

TEN people are feared dead and 15 injured – including tourists – in an explosion that rocked İstanbul’s central Sultanahmet Square, close to the iconic Blue Mosque,  a world tourist attraction, this morning (Tues).

The explosion occurred at 10.20am, the Doğan news agency reported. It is understood that among the casulaties are French, German, Norwegian and Peruvian tourists.

Witnesses speaking to CNNTürk reported hearing a loud blast and a huge flame erupted during the blast. Large numbers of ambulances, firefighter trucks and health teams have been dispatched to the area while a police helicopter circled overhead.


DHA image

The Istanbul Governor’s office reported to DHA Agency that there were 10 dead and 15 injured. The cause of the explosion is unknown


DHA image

Its location is being reported as close to Dikilitaş and very near the German Fountain, the Obelisk of Theodosius and Sultanahment Square in the Fatih district. The explosion was heard in nearby districts, according to witnesses.

Police tightened security measures around the area and sealed off the central square after the blast, barring people from approaching in case of a second explosion.

Sultanahmet Square is İstanbul’s main sight-seeing area and is home to Topkapı Palace and the Blue Mosque.


DHA image

Tourists were among the victims of the explosion, reports indicate, while wounded persons were transferred to nearby hospitals, mainly Haseki Training and Research Hospital.

Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala has also informed Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu about the explosion.

Meanwhile, a police car overturned on its way to the scene of the explosion and was righted with the assistance of passersby.

THE New Year has brought with a host of tax increases – from everything from electricity to alcohol.

The Hurriyet Newspaper revealed that the cost of cigarettes, alcoholic drinks and electricity are all set to lighten our wallets after the government imposed price hikes.

The government increased special taxes on the goods two days after announcing a 30 percent hike in the minimum wage for workers.

downloadThe minimum fixed tax rate on tobacco products increased by 5.1 percent to 4.42 liras and the fixed rate by 25 percent to 0.25 liras to mark the New Year.

The minimum fixed tax rate for beer has been increased by 0.18 liras to 1.03 liras. The minimum fixed tax rate for two liters of rakı has been increased by 23 liras to 130.68 liras.

Electricity prices were also increased by 6.8 percent as of Jan. 1.

A special tax that is added to mobile phone sales has also been hiked by 30 percent to 160 liras.

Minimum wage

The Turkish government will cover some 40 percent of the cost of a hike in the minimum wage for 8.5 million employees  due to come into effect, Labor and Social Security Minister Süleyman Soylu said.

The minimum wage has been increased from 1,000 Turkish Liras to 1,300 liras, a move expected to cost the private sector around 20 billion liras ($9.2 billion), leading critics to warn of job losses.

Soylu announced the wage has been hiked as of the first day of 2016 after a number of negotiations between the cabinet and the private sector on late Dec. 30.

“We’ll meet around 9.7 billion Turkish Liras [$3.3 billion] of the cost from the hike,” Soylu said. “This move will create a burden on the budget, but a minimal tax increase was planned to mitigate the impact.”

Inflation battle

Meanwhile, Turkey’s main economic challenge this year will be battling inflation amid a continuing increase in the rate, according to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek.

“The general trend in the inflation rate is not at desired levels and our inflation performance is relatively poorer than our general macroeconomic performance…We need to maintain solid steps in the fight against the rising inflation rate in 2016. This target can be achieved,” he said Jan. 4.

Consumer prices rose 8.81 percent year-on-year in December 2015, above estimates, data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) showed.

According to TÜİK data, the largest increase was seen in food and non-alcoholic beverages last month with a 1.24 percent hike. The steepest drop was seen in clothing and footwear with a decrease of around 2 percent.

CHANGES to our everyday lives in Turkey – for both expats and locals – are set to come into force in 2016.

Sabah Newspaper reported that the daily life will see both minor and fundamental changes this year as new laws and regulations changing everything from IDs to marriage procedures are set to be implemented by the end of 2016.

Driving licence changes

For drivers and learner drivers, the year starts with a major change in driver licences. All drivers will be obliged to change their existing licences with the new ones, which will have the status of international driver licence, hence, eliminating the need to apply for new licences for driving abroad.

New regs on licences

More importantly, in a bid to curb traffic accident fatalities and reckless driving, the government will introduce a new regulation to grade licences in January or in the coming months.

Those who obtain new licences this year will be “intern drivers” for two years and will be issued probationary licenses.

Probationary licences can be revoked if new drivers are fined above the limit of a new scoring system for inexperienced drivers and they will be mandated to attend driving schools again to obtain a new license.

The new regulation states that prospective drivers with an IQ level of 79 or below (classified as mental retardation), dementia or those who have a chronic mental disease that alters their thoughts, feelings or behaviors will not be allowed behind the wheel.

It also prohibits those with alcohol and drug addiction from obtaining driver licenses and the driver licenses of those who develop these addictions will be revoked. Reckless driving and drunk driving are among two main causes of the accidents.

ID changes

A set of new bills expected to be implemented this year also eases bureaucracy for Turkish public, from marriages to notification for moving to a new address.

A new civil law likely to come into force in 2016, cuts off the red tape for rectifying typing errors in IDs which is a painstaking legal procedure involving lawsuits and a court order. Under the new law, citizens will be able to change their IDs by filing a petition to the registry office issuing IDs.

As for IDs, bulky old IDs will be replaced this year with new credit card-sized identities. New IDs come with high security to prevent forgery and a data storage chip which will store fingerprint and other information for every individual. The IDs will also be integrated into e-government applications and allow citizens to use their e-signatures stored in new IDs in those applications.

Turkey will also issue ID numbers for foreigners residing in the country. This ID number will facilitate school admission and bank transactions for foreigners.

Domestic violence curb

This year, the government will likely implement a much-awaited law to curb the domestic violence and violence targeting women.

Tentatively named the “Özgecan bill” after a young woman raped and murdered by the driver of a passenger bus she boarded last year, the law aims to deter the potential perpetrators. It is expected to bring harsh sentences to those convicted of lethal domestic violence and crimes against women.

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.

Apollon Temple

  Apollon Temple, Didim

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.

Top sites

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:


Celsus Library, at Ephesus. (Image kindly reproduced by


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




Aydin sites

Meanwhile the below prices for archaeological sites and museums in the Aydin area will be effective from January 4:


The Priene Temple ruins: (Picture kindly reproduced by

Apollon Temple:10TL;

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

AS reports came in late last night (TUES) of another refugee disaster off the coast of Didim, parts of our Turkish and foreign communities responded admirably to donate clothing and blankets.

Baby dies, Didim responds

Social media sent out appeals for clothing after it emerged that a group of mainly Syrians had been rescued after their boat capsized around 11pm off the Tekağaç coastline, out beyond Mavisehir.


Blankets and dry clothes were handed over to the refugees at Didim Hospital from kind-hearted residents after a social media appeal

A total of 18 refugees were rescued, with three adults and six children, aged between six and 12, were brought to Didim State Hospital, before they were transferred out to Soke and Aydin Hospitals for treatment.

Unfortunately, it emerged that a six-month-old child, named Mehmet Kerem, had died – suspected from hypothermia.

12 dead on Greek island

A bigger disaster occurred later at about 4am this morning (WED) when a total of 12 refugees, including seven children, died after two separate boats – thought to have also left Didim – capsized off Turkey’s Aegean coast, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

One of the two boats capsized off the Greek island of Farmakonisi. Dogan News Agency reported 12 of the 50 migrants, including six children, four men and two women, were later found dead.

The Greek coast guard rescued 26 migrants from the capsized boat, while 13 others are still missing.

A Greek army helicopter was pressed into service with a vessel from the European Union’s border agency Frontex to aid the search, according to Agence France-Presse. Witnesses said the boat had sunk despite a calm sea and light winds.


Boats were suspected of heading out from Didim to the Greek Island

Six children perish

Also on Dec. 8, at least six children died when a boat carrying Afghan migrants sank in the Aegean en route to Greece, while another vessel sank elsewhere Aegean, killing another child.

The Turkish coast guard recovered the bodies of the children, including a baby, and were still looking for two other migrants reported missing, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The dead body of a 5-year-old girl washed up on a beach in İzmir, while six other refugees were also found dead after an inflatable boat capsized off İzmir’s Çeşme district. The body of 5-year-old girl Sajida Ali washed up on the Pırlanta Beach in Çeşme on Dec. 7. Ali’s body was taken to the İzmir Forensic Institute for medical examination.


Bodies of some of the refugees found on the beach at Farmakonisi

Her death comes few months after images of the lifeless body of Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi sent shockwaves throughout the world after washing ashore in the Turkish resort town of Bodrum in early September.

Six dead

In yet another incident, six Afghan migrants drowned in the Aegean Sea after an inflatable migrant boat capsized off Çeşme early on Dec. 8. The Turkish coast guard rescued eight other migrants, all wearing life jackets, while the bodies of the six were taken to the İzmir Forensic Institute, Doğan News Agency reported.

The number of migrants saved after making failed attempts to cross via the sea from Turkey to Europe has increased by over 500 percent in 2015 compared to last year.

In 2014, the number of migrants rescued by Turkey’s Coast Guard and local institutions was 14,961, in 574 separate incidents, according to Prime Ministry figures. So far this year, the number is 79,489 migrants in 2,133 incidents.



If you’re an expat, second home owner or simply a tourist staying over the winter on the West Coast and looking to hit the open roads, then Kusadasi’s Budget Rent a Car, has some great ideas of places for you to visit.

ENGLISH 300x300Budget combines the strength of one of the world’s largest car rental brands together with the detailed local knowledge, flexibility and great value for money you need. They have more than 50 offices all over Turkey.

Budget offers a wide range of models, with a choice of sizes and styles to suit your requirements including Mercedes, BMWs, Fords and Fiat, etc.. All Budget vehicles are on average under one year old and undergo regular maintenance and service checks prior to every rental.

Winter deals

For winter time, Budget Car Rental Kusadasi office is currently running special deals: their 31-day car hire packages are aimed at providing affordable travel with free pick-up and delivery service.

Two examples include a Citroen C-Elvsee for 1250TL per month plus Vat or a Hyundai i20 for as little as 1050TL a month. Offers valid till 01.04.2015.

All the road trips with a reliable rental car are within easy reach and will take no more than two to three hours away. Importantly, the destinations are central to the Kusadasi region but will give you an opportunity to see the real Turkey.


Turkey’s third largest city has it all. From a wildlife park to grand bazaars, museums, galleries, history and tourist attractions, the city simply oozes charm, sophistication and has bags of character.

The Clock Tower commands Konak Square and is an enduring symbol of Izmir. Meanwhile, the city has an archaeology museum hosting an impressive collection of ancient and Roman artefacts recovered. Equally the delightful neighbourhoods of Konak and Alsancak offer something for everyone – from back alley restaurants to peaceful packs.


About an hour or so from Kusadasi, Ephesus houses a 24,000-person capacity theatre, once the largest in the ancient world, with its three-storey stage building. It also features the Library of Celsus built to store 12,000 scrolls.


The city, about two hours from Kusadasi, is renowned for its whitewashed homes, an imposing castle, the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, its cafe culture and cosmopolitan atmosphere. It also has a wonderful peninsula to explore.

Budget1Kusadasi and Didim

Another alternative is to travel the back roads of Kusadasi, exploring the scenery and beaches out towards Davutlar and the Dilek Peninsula. About an hour further south is Didim, a popular tourist town with the landmark Temple of Apollo, Priene and Miletus ruins to woo the crowds


Within easy reach of Kusadasi is Sirince, world renowned for wine production. Located in the mountains, it offers a quaint view of how Turkey used to be and worth a couple of hours of your time. Be sure to top on the selection of wines available.

The company also offers a range of discounts for your short & long term car rentals at selected times during the year. One running now offers discounted car cover for those using the Pegasus airline brand.

For more about prices and rental information, see their website or call them on 0090256 612 5806.


THE number of foreign arrivals to Turkey continued to drop in September, according to data released by the Tourism Ministry.

The number of foreigners arriving in Turkey in September 2015 was 4.25 million, down 2.31 percent from the same month of previous year, according to the ministry’s data.

The data showed the declining trend in the number of Russian tourists was still the case in September.

While Russian tourists made up almost 14.65 percent of Turkey’s visitors last September, this figure dropped to 12.44 percent of total visitors in the same month of 2015.

Some 529,000 Russian people visited Turkey this September, according to the fresh data.

The share of German visitors in total increased from 14.84 percent in September 2014 to 15.62 percent this September, although the number of German visitors showed a slight decrease compared to last year.

A total of 664,300 Germans visited the country in September this year, according to the ministry.

But visitors from Europe, who constitute over half of overall visitors annually, slipped 5.9 percent in September to 2.22 million from 2.36 million a year earlier.

Some 36.11 percent of all visitors went through the Mediterranean resort of Antalya in September, followed by Istanbul with 28.37 percent and the Aegean province of Muğla with 11.11 percent.

The number of foreigners visiting Turkey showed a 1.1 percent decline in the first nine months of the year to 29.8 million compared to the same period of 2014.

Some 32.36 percent of the arrivals were made through Istanbul in the first nine months of the year, followed by Antalya with 31.84 percent and Muğla with 8.89 percent, according to the ministry’s data.

Turkey’s tourism industry may close this year with around $10-11 billion in losses amid a dramatic loss in Russian tourists and a sharp slash in hotel room prices across the country, according to leading sector representatives.

A BRITISH passenger is reported to have been found hanged at a Turkish airport after apparently missing her flight.

Jaqueline Anne Sutton, (50), was found dead in a toilet at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport.

Ms Sutton (pictured, Dogan News Agency) had arrived at the airport from London with Turkish Airlines flight TK-1986 at 10:00pm on Saturday night.

n_90007_1She was supposed to fly to the northern Iraqi city of Irbil at 00.15 on early Sunday, Sabah newspaper reported.

However, Sutton missed her flight and applied to transit passenger desk to find out what to do.

She was advised that she would to buy a new ticket as she had missed flight. She replied to the booking staff she did not have any money, and after crying for a while, went to one of the toilets in the airport, Sabah was quoted as saying.

Her body was later found by three Russian passengers in a toilet, and transferred to the forensic medicine institution morgue. A police inquiry is now underway.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We can confirm the death of a British national in Istanbul.

“We are providing consular assistance to the family at this time.”

REPRESENTATIVES from England and Italy were in Didim this week as part of a joint catering educational project with the town’s Zeynep Mehmet Dönmez Vocational and Technical High School.

The participants from Lewisham, Southwark College (England), coordinating-college Zeynep Mehmet Dönmez Vocational, Venosa Beach Resort & Spa and IAL Innovazione Apprendimento Lavoro Friuli Venezia Giulia Srl Impresa Sociale (Italy) came together as part of the 2014 KA2 SNACKS project,

The KA2 project called SNACKS (Short Non-Accredited Catering Skills) gives students the ability to learn catering and tourism skills in international countries.

2a5b3b7addbf1d7b6fd4eba35051e793_LThe participants who were visiting the town this week took the opportunity to meet the town’s mayor Deniz Atabay.

The two-year project incorporates issues surrounding food and beverage services in the field of theoretical and practical training as well as integrating information technologies.

The meeting with the mayor included Didim, Lewisham and Southwark College Project Coordinators Shaz Guinea, Michael Neal, Mary Oyewo and Patricia Forrest; IAL Innovazione name Coordinator Carolyn Snelling, Lara De Carlo and Andrea Carnera with Zeynep Mehmet Dönmez Vocational and Technical High School Mehmet Coordinator of the Project on Meetings nature, Mehmet Doğan, Serdar Cemri, Murat Bekler and Ümit Çağlar.

TURKEY’S tourism industry may close this year with around $10-11 billion in losses amid a dramatic loss in Russian tourists and a sharp slash in hotel room prices across the country, according to leading sector representatives.

“Turkey’s tourism sector grew in double digit figures in the last 25 years. The sector has, however, faced tough times with the rise in Russia’s economic problems, security concerns especially after the Arab Spring in the region and the Syria crisis,” said the head of the Hoteliers’ Federation of Turkey (TÜROFED), Osman Ayık.

The country saw around a 25 percent decrease in tourists from Russia and its neighbors, although a 9 percent increase in the number of German and European tourists, he noted.

“The rise in the number of European tourists cannot, however, enable the sector to compensate its losses from the Russian market. In this vein, we expect a loss in income. The losses will differ across the regions, but we most probably won’t close the year with positive growth,” he noted.

Ayık said coastline hotels especially have made sharp cuts in their prices.

“We expect around $10-11 billion of loss in tourism income this year. Some $5 billion of this is caused by the decrease in tourist numbers and the remaining from the slashes in room prices at around 30 percent. A decrease in income will pave the road to cuts in employment,” he said.

Ayık said around a 3 percent drop in the number of tourists visiting the Mediterranean resort may be the case this year. Muğla province may face an eight percent loss although no loss is expected for Istanbul, he added.

He noted the sector achieved double digit growth numbers in the last 25 years, but saw a slowdown this year for the first time in the last three decades, although around 2 million decreases in tourist numbers will not constitute a big problem for the sector.

He added: “The point is to maintain a sustainable growth trend in the sector, according to him.

“If Turkey can continue to catch up with the previous trends, the sector can overcome its losses in just one year. It is, however, not likely to grow in the same manner as the sector has reached enormous figures at around 40 million tourists.”


ALMOST all of us have one or more complaints about airports and airline companies including extraordinary prices for airport food, paying for excess baggage, or the previous scandal to hit was the duty-free tax dodge of which airline passengers never received the savings.

These days though, it is the controversial EU regulation 261/2004 that is making headline news.

This law states that every passenger flying from an EU airport, who is delayed for more than three hours, or has their flight cancelled, is entitled to monetary compensation. The problem is though, not every airline wants to pay up.

delta+opens+lounge+for+premier+class+passengers+at+indianapolis+airport_3467_800246173_0_0_7066907_300Surprisingly this rule came into effect in 2005, yet a majority of passengers are still unaware about which circumstances they can claim compensation for and how.

Some may argue this is the fault of the airlines who deliberately withheld the information, (although sites like Thomas Cook do give full details) while others accuse the airlines of much more than simply keeping quiet.

An article in the Daily Mail in June of 2015, reported airlines were bending or dodging rules to prevent paying out monetary compensation. A few examples include…

  • Insisting voucher compensation is adequate
  • Referring passengers to their travel insurance company
  • Asking for boarding passes
  • Denying technical faults and instead blaming them on manufacturing defects

Ryanair took one compensation request to court on the grounds that technical faults were extraordinary circumstances and even though the court ruled in favour of passengers, Ryanair say they will appeal.

The UK Company Air Delay, which is currently assisting many people with claims for delayed or cancelled flights to Turkish airports, says people should prevail against tactics like insisting every member of a family claim separately, or letters filled to the brim with legal jargon.

downloadThey add that this scenario is not a free-for-all because the only flights eligible for compensation is when the airline could have adequately prevented the delay such as over booking, or understaffing of crew members.

In the meantime the Civil Aviation Authority has been inundated with complaints by passengers who insist airlines are simply refusing to enter into correspondence with them.

Alex from Air Delay UK says the high number of complaints is simply due to passengers becoming more aware of their rights.

The fact that flyers can claim back up to six years if they departed from a UK airport and five years for Scottish airports mean the airlines are looking at massive financial pay-outs but these rules have been in place for many years so if they had been adhered to from the start, a backlog of complaints wouldn’t have happened.

More information is available on the Air Delay website regarding flight delay situations that may be eligible for compensation but in the meantime, hopefully airlines will start to adhere to this law and stop using tricks to prevent passengers receiving compensation that they are rightly entitled to.

SEVERAL countries have issued travel warnings for Turkey in the wake of Saturday’s dual suicide bombing.

A total of 15 countries stepped up advisories. They include the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Poland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, the Netherlands and Iran, Bugun media reported.

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2015-10-11 14:51:37Z | |

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its travel advice section for Turkey following the deadly suicide bombing that killed at least 95 in Ankara.

“We recommend staying away from central Ankara and restricting any movements around the city. You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings in Turkey and remain extra vigilant. You should follow any instructions given by local authorities,” the updated travel warning read.

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2015-10-11 16:43:15Z | | http://codecarvings.comqqÿf5z^4

The FCO also warned against all but essential travel to Şırnak, Mardin, Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis, Hatay, Siirt, Tunceli, Diyarbakır and Hakkari provinces.

All are in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish eastern and southeastern regions, where clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants have become increasingly common.

Germany also issued a similar travel warning.

Aside from the United Kingdom and Germany, other countries that have issued travel warnings for Turkey citing terrorism include the United States, France, Italy, Canada, Poland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, the Netherlands and Iran.

Australia and New Zealand advise against “non-essential travel” to the Syrian border areas NOT for all of Turkey.

UP to a thousand people joined for a protest walk late Saturday in Didim in protest at the worst terror attack in Turkey in Ankara, which left at least 95 dead, including a student from the town.

didim-de-ankara-da-olen-elif-ve-canberk-icin-7768232_oMembers of the Didim Democracy Platform joined in a walk at about 5.30pm from the old CourtHouse on Ataturk Boulevard to the Ataturk Square.

didim-de-yagmur-altinda-teror-protestosu-7767711_x_oThe walk came in the aftermath of the twin suicide bomb blasts which killed 95 people and maimed close to 300 as crowds gathered in Ankara.

The bombing on October 10 (10/10) occurred shortly at about 10am.

02e835596a7ddd43e117e286a1ad200d_LAmong those killed was a Didim student, Elif  Kanlioglu (pictured right), aged 20, a foreign languages student at the University of Mersin. A second person from Aydin, Canberk Bakış (19) was also killed.

The protestors carried slogans, largely aiming statements at the government, while Didim District Police Department took security measures.

Didim Mayor Deniz Atabay and CHP councilors were among those that gave support to the walk at Ataturk Square.

Although the official death toll was 95 as of late Oct. 11, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) claimed it was 128, with fears that it could further increase given the number of seriously wounded still under intensive care in Ankara hospitals.

In the wake of a horrific suicide bombing (pictured left), Twitter said users across the country were struggling to access the social network. Scattered reports suggest that internet access is also limited.

A link to the bombing has not been confirmed, but the Turkish Prime minister ordered a temporary “publication ban” in the aftermath of the bombing, banning media reporting across the country.

Among the dead was 70-year-old Meryem Bulut, or Mother Meryem, (pictured below left)  a member of the famous Saturday Mothers group, who have protested the disappearance of their loved ones, mostly sons, through silent sit-ins at Galatasaray Square in downtown Istanbul since 1995.

ISTIHBARAT MERYEM (3)Mother Meryem’s death created heartbreak even in the hearts of those who had never met her, as her always smiling pictures were posted widely on social media after the deadly blast.

Mother Meryem’s grandson, Onur Polat, was killed in Shingal in northern Iraq while fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

The 54-year-old Kemal Tayfun Benol is another whose life was ended in Ankara. Travelling to Ankara from Istanbul with his lawyer wife and two sons, Benol was caught by the explosions as he left his family’s side to meet his friends from the trade union.

With Picasso’s famous Guernica painting as his Twitter profile, the scene in which Benol lost his life on Oct. 10 bore chilling similarities to the massacre depicted by the legendary Spanish artist decades ago.

Another victim of the twin explosions in Ankara was Dijle Deli, a university student from Istanbul. Deli hit the road to Ankara late Oct. 9 with her friends, full of joy, singing and chanting. Shared widely on social media after the blast was a selfie she took with friends on the road from Istanbul to Ankara along with the caption: “We are going to Ankara to bring peace.”    

Newly-married couple Yılmaz Elmascan and Gülhan Karlı Elmascan went to death together along with their friends from the United Trade Union of Transportation Workers. Şebnem Yurtman, a member of the Labor Party; Hacı Mehmet Şah from the HDP; and Metin Peşmen, a member of the Pir Sultan Abdal Foundation, were among deaths from Mersin.

THE death toll of the twin terror blasts in Ankara today (Sat) has reached 95 people. Among the first to be identified is a foreign languages student from Didim.

Elif  Kanlioglu, aged 20 and studying foreign languages at the University of Mersin, was reported to have been among the dead in the devastating blasts that targeted a peace rally in Ankara

didimli-elif-ankara-daki-patlamada-yasamini-7765404_x_300Elif (pictured left) was the daughter of Ümit Kanlıoğlu who runs a private driver training agency in Didim.

It has since emerged that a second person from Aydin, Canberk Bakış (19) (pictured below and right), also died.

Media reports confirmed that 246 people were injured, with 48 in critical condition following the deadliest terror attack in Turkey’s history.

The blasts outside Ankara’s main train station on Saturday morning at about 10am targeted hundreds of people who had gathered to protest against violence between authorities and the Kurdish militant group, the PKK.

Three days of mourning has been announced by the government, while Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, was holding emergency meetings with security chiefs this afternoon.

Earlier, the death toll was out at 86, but by Saturday evening the Turkish Medical Association revised the estimate to 97. The figure is likely to rise again.ankara-saldirisinda-aydin-dan-eyleme-giden-ik-7765929_o

Video footage on social media showed several bodies lying on the ground, as survivors tried to attend to the wounded.

Earlier in the day, Health Minister Mehmet Müezzionğlu said 62 people had died at the attack scene in addition to 24 people who died at the hospitals.

Some 18 people were under surgery as 28 others were in intensive care, the minister had said six hours after the attack. However, the toll rose to 97.

In the aftermath of the attack, Twitter and Facebook have either been temporarily blocked or was experiencing slow internet speed.

Also, the Supreme Board of Radio and Television said the prime minister’s office had decided to impose a ban on showing images of Saturday’s bomb attack in Ankara for reasons of “public security”.

In a written statement, the board said the ban was imposed due to “security reasons” and “public security”. Such bans are usually put in place to prevent the spread of what the government refers to as terrorist propaganda.

Broadcasters can still cover statements about the twin blasts and air commentary.

cegrab-20151010-101723-0-1-736x414UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack through his official spokesperson. “[Ban] expects the perpetrators of these terrorist acts to be swiftly brought to justice,” read a statement issued by his office.”

The blasts (pictured left is the first explosion) were at the two sides of the exit of the main train station in the city, where the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) supporters were gathering.

The cause of the blasts was not immediately clear, but Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported that it could be a suicide bomber, as eye witnesses said human flesh was all over the scene.

Graphic images from the scene showed survivors resuscitating the wounded, and several dead bodies draped in flags.

“There was a massacre in the middle of Ankara,” said Lami Ozgen, the head of one of the trade unions involved in the rally.

It is not immediately clear which terror group, if any, was responsible for the explosions.

A newspaper seller working inside the train station said: “I heard one big explosion first and tried to cover myself as the windows broke. Right away there was the second one.

Voices Newspaper is experiencing difficulties in accessing its social media platforms.

It seems that Facebook, Twitter and other platforms have either been blocked or slowed down by the Turkish authorities following the twin bombing in Turkey.

We will try to get normal service back as soon as we can.

At least 86 have been killed and 186 injured in a terrorist attack at 10.05am today (Sat) on a peace rally in the centre of the Turkish capital, various news agencies have reported.

At least one explosion occurred at a road junction in Ankara on Saturday morning, when hundreds had gathered to protest violence between authorities and Kurdish separatist group, the PKK.

Ankara'da tren garına giden köprü altında patlama meydana geldi. Tren garının bulunduğu bölgede nedeni henüz belirlenemeyen büyük bir patlama meydana geldi. Olay yerinde ölü ve yaralıların olduğu bildirildi. Patlamanın olduğu bölgeye, sağlık ekipleri ve itfaiye gönderildi. (Muammer Tan - Anadolu Ajansı)

(Anadolu Ajansı)

The health minister confirmed 86 people were killed in the blasts and 126 were wounded. . It is believed the death toll could continue to rise.

Immediately after the attack at least 20 bodies could be seen covered by bloodstained flags on the road. Witnesses said the blasts were seconds apart shortly after 10am and were so powerful they rocked nearby high-rise buildings.

Turkish government officials said the explosion was a terrorist attack and are investigating the claim that a suicide bomber was responsible.

Prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu is to hold a meeting with government officials and security chiefs in response to the attack, his office said.

A Reuters reporter at the scene saw at least 15 bodies covered by flags, with bloodstains and body parts scattered on the road. Another witness told CNN there were two blasts, each so powerful they rocked high-rise buildings that were nearby.

Reports suggest that 100 were injured by an explosion near Ankara’s main train station, where the Confederation of Public Sector Trades’ Unions (KESK) and other labor unions were planning to hold a “Labor, peace, democracy” rally at Sıhhiye Square.

Emergency services raced to the scene following the blast at 10.05 a.m. local time (0705GMT).

Bodies lay in front of the station on Hipodrum Street, where people had started to arrive for a peace rally in Ankara.

Paramedics tended to the injured as a police helicopter circled overhead. Protest banners and flags littered the ground and members of the public helped carry the injured to ambulances and buses to take them to hospital

Two blasts were heard according witnesses.

The cause of the blast has not yet been specified, but some reports claim it was a suicide attack. Eye witnesses said there were two consecutive blasts.

An Anadolu Agency correspondent at the scene said there were bodies and wounded people lying in front of the station on Hipodrum Street, where people had started to arrive for a peace rally in Ankara.

Meanwhile, PM Ahmet Davutoğlu was briefed by the interior, health ministers about the bomb blast, and called for a meeting at 12 p.m. with Ankara governor, intelligence and police officials to discuss the attack.

EUROPEAN visa requirements for Turkish nationals could be removed within two years, the EU enlargement commissioner told a German newspaper on Saturday.

Johannes Hahn said it was “quite possible” restrictions could be removed by the 2017 target date “if the conditions laid down are met”.

In an interview with Die Welt newspaper, the Austrian politician said Turkish visitors to the border-free Schengen area could move freely around Europe if conditions such as biometric passports and cooperation in identifying counterfeit travel documents were met by Turkey.

Hahn also said chapters 23 and 24 of Turkey’s bid to join the EU should be opened “as soon as possible”.

These chapters of EU law concern the judiciary and fundamental rights and justice, freedom and security. Turkey, which applied for EU membership in 1987 with talks beginning in 2005, must successfully complete negotiations on 33 of 35 chapters to join the 28-nation bloc. Fourteen chapters have been opened so far while 17 remain blocked.

“The sooner we deal with in the accession negotiations with Turkey on the sustainable implementation of basic democratic rights, the more we have a lever to advance reforms in the country,” Hahn said.

He described Turkey as an “extremely important strategic partner for the EU with a major economic significance” and one of the EU’s priorities. Turkish companies are responsible for 600,000 jobs in Europe, the commissioner pointed out.

Hahn said he ws “extremely satisfied” with Ankara’s role in the refugee crisis.

A NEWLY discovered name inscription suggests UK archaeologist Frank Calvert, credited for numerous excavations in ancient Troy, may have been to Çanakkale province as early as 1846, on a family visit.

A local visiting Mount Ida in Turkey’s Çanakkale province recently discovered a set of 169-year-old inscriptions, possibly belonging to famous 19th-century UK archaeologist and consul Frank Calvert (1828–1908), who is renowned for his excavations in ancient Troy, the Daily Hurriyet reported recently.

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2015-09-30 15:45:36Z | |

The name carvings were discovered by 28-year-old Cemil Darıcı in a Mount Ida cave and date back to August 1846.

Calvert would have been 18 years old and he might have been there on a family visit, given the other Calvert last names carved on the wall: “Eveline Calvert,” “H.H. Calvert,” “F.W. Calvert” (likely the archaeologist himself or his older brother Frederick), and “Eveline Calvert.”

Calvert is known to have had six siblings.

A British expatriate, Calvert made key excavations as an amateur archaeologist and served also as a consular official in the eastern Mediterranean region.