Shake It Baby...
Turkey - The Hot New Tourist
A fascinating Time Magazine article from 13 June 1988:

'Twenty years ago, Bodrum, Turkey, seemed like a town that time had forgotten. "It was a small fishing village," remembers Atlantic Records Chairman Ahmet Ertegun. "The main activities were fishing and sponge diving, as well as work in agriculture -- citrus trees, olive trees." There were a few foreigners to be found haggling over prices with merchants at the bazaar, and a handful of tourists viewing the city's ancient ruins.

A visitor returning today would hardly know Bodrum. The town's 185-slip marina is already too small for the flotilla of yachts anchored there from ports as distant as Oslo and Southampton. On the other side of the harbor, near the 15th century Crusader castle that dominates the town, about 200 gulets -- motor-equipped sailboats built by local craftsmen -- take tourists out for a week or a month in the unspoiled waters off Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Halicarnas, an enormous open-air disco, pumps music and shoots lasers until dawn. Ertegun, who was born in Istanbul and came to the U.S. as a boy, now owns a sumptuous villa in Bodrum where he entertains such glitterati as Mick Jagger and Oscar de la Renta.

Bodrum is at the center of a tourism explosion that has taken Turkey by surprise. Over the past several years the country has evolved from a quiet, almost isolated land into one of the hottest tourist spots in Europe. Veteran pleasure seekers from all over the world are targeting the country for its gorgeous azure water, unparalleled archaeology and bargain-basement prices. "It was a white spot on the map," says Heinrich Aken, a medical researcher from Bonn. "Everyone has already seen Greece, Italy, Spain, Morocco and Algeria. Turkey is the only thing left in the Mediterranean." Explains a Japanese traveler: "The life-style here is exotic." Nalbantoglu Gunduz, owner of a successful chartering company in Bodrum, has an uncomplicated view of the Turkish tourism boom. Says Gunduz with a shrug: "C'est la mode."

Only a few years ago, "no one knew anything about Turkey," says Gordon Roberts, a Briton who retired from the publishing industry two years ago, and now spends nine months each year sailing off the Turkish coast with his wife. "It used to be an absolute backwater. Midnight Express was the only thing that people knew about the place." (Turkey does have stringent drug laws, and travelers caught with even one gram of hashish risk a heavy jail term.)

Today's tourists are discovering a Turkey that transcends popular stereotypes. In Istanbul they jam the Topkapi Palace to gaze at the 400-room harem of the sultanate and to view its incomparable treasury of emeralds, diamonds, gold and ivory. They pack the Blue Mosque and the other masterpieces of Mehmet Aga, Turkey's great 17th century architect. Bargain hunters fill the cavernous covered bazaar looking for rugs, leather goods and gold. To the south, near Izmir, tour guides jockey for position at the ruins of Ephesus, where the main attraction is the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In Cappadocia, the eerie area in Central Anatolia where thousands of monks lived in conical towers of rock during the early Christian period, 22 tourist buses were recently parked together.'

Source: Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com


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