THERE certainly appears to be a perception among the indigenous population, probably founded upon empiricism, that the peoples from the British Isles and the Republic of Ireland utilize their vacation time merely to relax, unwind and then revert to impropriety with scant regard to others.

Obviously, I can appreciate precisely where that sentiment emanates from, but nonetheless it remains a fallacy to attribute all to a caricatured stereotype.

Difficulties of attraction

Of the people I encounter there are a good number who wish to spend their time upon foreign shores to explore the culture, traditions, cuisine and, importantly to me, its history.

Definitely we now have a fine array of coffee shops sprinkled along Ataturk Bulvari and elsewhere, there have always been purveyors of excellent Turkish cuisine in Yenihisar and Mayor Deniz Atabay is fulfilling his promise of giving us more green areas to break the monotony of the endless sprawl of concrete blocks.

A history lesson

While, as you would expect of me, I shall allude to the Temple of Apollo and the educational benefits it could bring to tourists with a penchant for the Arts.

A recently opened café and bar, looking very plush with its antique style stonework and bright blue painted window shutters, has presented its customers with a décor influenced by the ‘Dadaist’ art movement of the early 20th century.

I am unquestionably impressed by the use of Modern Art forms. The ‘Dada’ group included such famous names as Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Francis Picabia and was characterized by the violent revolt against traditional values, as much was after the carnage of the First World War.

The excellent and, for Didim, original décor also presented me with a visual metaphor, for Duchamp’s works included the famous ‘ready-mades’, everyday objects presented outside of their context and labelled ‘Art’; for example, the urinal displayed in a New York Museum entitled ‘Fountain’.

Well, we too have our ‘ready-mades’ directly below this newly refurbished building and the rest of the archaeological site, and out of context at this moment for they are underground.

One could not get more Dadaist than that, an artwork that one cannot see. Indeed, Duchamp professed that the ‘work of art’ is in the original thought, not its execution.

Of course, I am referring to the entire Greco-Roman settlement which remains hidden beneath the housing, business establishments and the closed road which is forever open; more Dada symbolism. Duchamp will be smiling in his grave!

A powerful immediate greed

While right on cue, the Mayor announced last week the Belediye’s plan to prepare “very good protection plans” to restore the Temple. Of course he means the Temple area, not Apollo’s sanctuary itself; he does not have the jurisdiction to do that.

Neither should Didim Belediye have the moral jurisdiction to transform an extremely important archaeological site into a commercial area for exploiting the less discerning tourists who visit our town.

Opening the gates to the Sacred Way would be far more profitable than opening little trinket shops.

Clear the entire site to allow the archaeologists to reveal the splendours beneath the surface, then you will see people from all over the world flocking here season after season.