Turkey, tourism and terrorism.
A week or so ago I was on holiday in Turkey, on a boat off the south coast. I didn't mention this at the time, as it always seems a slightly dangerous advert: 'house empty, burglars take note'. That may be a bit neurotic, but I do have in mind the first question that the police are supposed to ask: "who knew you were away?" I dont think that the response "anyone who has come across my blog, constable" would have won me much sympathy.
Anyway, we had a great week, seeing some old ancient favourite sites: like Knidos where the famous Aphrodite came from: Kaunos, which is a great town with some stunning rock-cut tombs, but if anything put in the shade by the wonderful reed beds (plus turtles, as you see above) through which you now approach it (it's the tombs above the reed beds you can see on the right); and Aphrodisias, three hours inland but as spectacular an excavation as any in the last 50 years (and also, as it happens, where I first came across the husband). But a new place for us was the site of Loryma, an amazingly well-preserved Hellenistic fort. Forts dont usually do much for me, but this was dramatically special, as I hope you can get a sense, from this picture below:
But there were more poignant aspects too. The south of Turkey relies heavily on tourism for its income and that has been badly hit by the knock on effects of terrorism. Bodrum still seems to be heaving with custom but almost everywhere else we went was at best half full, or nearly empty. OK, that was nice in a way for those of us who were there, but it is terrible news for the region's prosperity.
And while we were there, the terrible attack on Istanbul airport took place. We changed planes on the way back at Istanbul and saw the moving tribute to the victims in the concourse. An awful crime, and awful to think that -- whoever was responsible -- it works (of course it does) to keep people away. Whatever you think of the present government (and it was a shock, to put it euphemistically, to find Twitter blocked for the 24 hours after the attack: cui bono?) no country deserves this.