German reigns while English struggles to make its voice heard in Manavgat

10th, 2014
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German reigns while English struggles to make its voice heard in Manavgat

British citizens who have moved to the Antalya area are beginning to wish they received the same level of attention that their German counterparts receive from local businesspeople and residents.


German is the most widely spoken and used foreign language in Antalya’s Manavgat-Side region, a fact that is sparking complaints amongst local British residents. Brits from the area say local shops and businesses seem to cater more to Middle European citizens and that they don’t enjoy nearly as much respect as their German counterparts when shopping.

Retired British music teacher Jackie Taylor has lived in Side now for the past five years and says the problem for her is that local merchants don’t seem to focus on any language other than German when it comes to dealing with foreigners. Taylor says that although places like Bodrum, Fethiye, and Kalkan outside of Kaş were already popular with British tourists, more and more British citizens are beginning to reside either permanently or for part of the year in spots such as Kemer, Belek, Alanya, Manavgat and Side.

Taylor said, however, it did seem natural that local merchants around the Manavgat and Alanya areas would focus more on German than English, as there was a 25-year-old tradition of German-speaking tourists visiting the area.

“Much of the time though, we do have difficulties, as the entire shopping system here is built around the German language. When a merchant is trying to sell something, he prefers to speak in German, while we prefer English. Of course, some merchants speak both, which makes things easier. Since we [Britons] are new in the area, we don’t get as much respect as the Germans and Dutch do. I personally attended a two-year Turkish course to help with this, and now I don’t have as many problems as some of the newcomers, since I speak enough Turkish to at least express my basic thoughts.”

Grant John Maxwell is a British citizen who says most of his friends from England who have moved to Turkey moved to Fethiye, and says he regrets having moved to Side rather than Kalkan, as he believes the favor shown to using German over English in the area has made his life relatively more difficult.

Another British citizen who arrived in Side five years ago and has not yet returned to her native country is Marianne Rice, herself an English teacher, who says she attended a Turkish language course in order to get to know and better understand her new surroundings.

The head of the Manavgat Inter-Cultural Dialogue Center (MAKDİM), Mesut Bişkin, asserts that one of his group’s most important missions it to see the various different cultural groups making their homes in Manavgat come together and coalesce. Bişkin says he believes that British tourists and residents in Turkey are slowly changing their favored spots from the Aegean region to the Mediterranean, and that local merchants were thus under greater pressure to increase their English language level.

Head of the Manavgat Market Merchants Chambers (MSSPO) Âdem Şen said the fact that the majority of visiting foreign tourists and residents to the region are Central European in origin means that local merchants are obliged to speak German and cater to this group for the benefit of their businesses. Şen says a full 57 percent of the visitors to the city’s Monday and Thursday open markets are German citizens.

According to data provided by MAKDIM, there are 568 German residents, 79 Dutch, 66 Belgian, 42 Norwegian, 36 Danish, 23 British, 18 Finnish and a smaller range of other countries’ citizens residing permanently in the area.


Resource: Today’s Zaman

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