Anti-government protests on the part of the Left, which have engulfed Turkey’s major cities for over three weeks have focused their targets on the country’s commercial centres – Istanbul and Ankara.

Although the protests have been focused on the government’s increasingly socially conservative outlook, there are concerns that a prolonged protest movement could be damaging for the country’s summer superyacht activity, which is seen as a prime example of conspicuous consumption. A spokesperson for a company that operates in Turkey, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the company would be reducing its profile over the coming months, in light of the protests.

But BWA Yachting’s Anne Spyropoulos dismissed links between the protests, which were focused on social and political issues, and the superyacht industry, which is embraced by local communities all along the country’s coastline.

Spyropoulos was particularly impressed by Palmarina, a new addition to the Turkish landscape, when she made a recent trip there.

As superyacht agents with a permanent base in Turkey, BWA spends a lot of time on the ground, and Spyropoulos herself has recently conducted a tour of the company’s various partners in the industry. “I went all along the coast meeting marinas and captains the very week that [the protests] began”, she explained. “Talking to clients, none of the unrest is directed towards foreigners, luxury sectors, yachts or anything else to do with our industry.”

BWA’s managing partner for Turkey, Ugur Kara, corroborated this. Kara has been working in Istanbul, where activity has continued as normal. “There were no issues at all”, he said. “The season has begun as normal.”

Ugur Kara says the summer season has begun as normal.

Kurt Fraser, sales and marketing director at Camper & Nicholsons Marinas, is also confident that Turkey will enjoy a bumper charter season in 2013. The company operates Çesme marina, located on the Western Izmir peninsula and Fraser is predicting an increase in the number of superyachts visiting over the summer season. “We’ll always get steady traffic because of our proximity to the Greek islands and I expect this year will see more superyachts”, Fraser said. “We represent the summer community for wealthy individuals from Istanbul, so it’s an ideal escape from [the civil unrest].” “We may even see an increase in business because of that”, he added.

Spyropoulos conceded that there had a been a degree of “disappointment” that the Turkish image had been tarnished at the beginning of the Summer season, but she insisted the country’s stunning cruising grounds painted a very different picture to that of the international media. “We have boats there now, boats going there and we’ve been saying that the trouble is isolated to the two cities.”

Similarly, Turkish charter company Aegean Yacht's Asli Sunbul said she was surprised by how little impact the negative press had caused. "The protests are much calmer now but somehow it did not affect the lives of the ordinary people", she explained. "My boss was in Istanbul for the last few weekends and he said it was perfectly all right. As far as Bodrum and Aegean towns go, we have not felt any difference at all. The bookings are fine and there are no cancellations, which is great for our yacht charter holidays ."

Turkish marinas are already filling up.

Profile links

BWA Yachting - Turkey

Camper & Nicholsons Marinas International Ltd

Aegean Yacht

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