Help Turkiye recover by visiting this magnificent country!
ABOVE: Hot air balloons at sunset in Goreme village, Cappadocia, Turkiye. (iStock)
On February 6, a horrific earthquake struck Southern Turkey and Northern Syria. As of writing, over 44,000 people in Turkey alone have been killed, with an estimated $84 billion in damages. Aftershocks continue to add to the death toll and destruction.
Turkiye needs Western help to rebuild the devastated areas of the country. Canadians are generously giving money to the Red Cross and they have responded to the call to donate coats, sleeping bags, blankets, and other much-needed items. Still, the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa suggests another way Canadians can help the people of Turkiye — Visit!
Turkiye is a vast country. The southern regions, including the amazing cities and towns of Gaziantep, Halfeti, and Salinurfa, have seen indescribable devastation but it is over 1,000 kilometers from Istanbul to Gaziantep, close to the epicentre of February’s earthquake. The world-class tourist destinations of Antalya, Cappadocia, Izmir, Pamukkale, and Ephesus are far removed.
The Turkish Riviera is a highly sought-after destination for European travellers. In 2022 alone, nearly three million Germans vacationed in Turkiye. His excellency Kerim Uras, Turkish Ambassador to Canada, is hopeful that Canadians will choose to spend their vacation dollars in Turkiye, giving the country much-needed support.
ABOVE: Beautiful clear waters of Akvaryum Koyu. (istock)
Turkiye’s Aegean region, with historic Izmir as its largest city, is ideal for planning a European beach vacation. Turquoise waters, historic ruins, sandy beaches, grand bazaars, reasonable prices, delicious cuisine, and exquisite seafood appeal to first-time and veteran travellers alike. The wonderful emerging wine industry will no doubt explode in size in the next decade, and the area will become even more sought after than it already is.
Another great option is Ankara. This city became the capital of the Turkish Republic after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and Turkiye's victory in the war of independence. Ankara is the civic centre of the country. It is also home to several amazing attractions, including the An?tkabi, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the pioneering secularist and revolutionary leader who founded the modern Turkish state. Turks hold the memory of Ataturk close to their hearts and consider him the greatest Turkish leader. Seeing his final resting place is a fascinating experience.
With a history going back all the way to the Roman era, through the height of the Byzantine, and the Ottoman Empires, the incredible city of Istanbul spans two continents and is unlike anywhere on earth. Istanbul has a classy vibe you'd expect to find in a European city like Paris and the levantine feel of its Ottoman roots. Enjoy a Bosphorus cruise, visit the Grand Bazaar, the historic Galata Tower, the Hagua Sofia mosque, and one of the many restaurants in the trendy Galataport district.
ABOVE: Tourists and locals alike head to Istiklal Street in the heart of Istanbul.
Istanbul International is one of the world's largest and busiest airports and is key for travel between Europe, Asia, and Africa. Even if you are flying through Istanbul (IST) on your way to another destination, consider stopping for a few days. You won't regret a layover in Istanbul, and you'll be helping Turkiye by bringing much-needed tourist dollars to help the country's economy bounce back and rebuild after this unprecedented disaster.
The southern regions have been devastated, but Turkiye is open and ready to host Canadians and tourists from around the world.
For more information on vacationing in Turkiye, visit www.goturkiye.com