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.
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.”
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 ."
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