THREE THINGS I DISLIKE ABOUT TURKEY
Turkey is not the most popular backpacking destination in the world. However, I visit it very frequently because of the convenience of traveling to the country. I don't need a visa and airflights aren't expensive. The country is huge, and it has an incredible nature. Plus, Turkey is filled with historical landmarks. These are some of the main factors that attract millions of tourists to the country.
As a travel and backpacking destination, Turkey has a lot of advantages that definitely outnumber the country's disadvantages. Nonetheless, in this blog post, I decided to share my thoughts regarding the things I dislike about Turkey.
CONSTANTLY INCREASING PRICES
The country used to be quite cheap for traveling and backpacking. It is still cheap comparing to the USA and Europe. Nevertheless, a regular spike of prices is one of the bad things you can see in the country.
Here is an example. In March 2022, I was buying a litre of milk by 7 TL (Turkish Liras) – 50 cents. When I came back to Turkey in the middle of May, the same milk's price spiked to 13 TL – 1$. A 100% increase of prices isn't uncommon in the country. Everything in supermarkets is becoming more expensive every week.
Food isn't the only commodity that becomes more expensive every week and month. Public transport gets more expensive each month. Buses, metros, intercity buses, and all other types of public transportation get more expensive every month.
For example, in May 2022, I paid 350 TL – 21$ for a bus from Istanbul to Antalya (700 km). In July, I had to pay 450 TL – 28$ for a bus from Antalya to Istanbul. It is a 25% increase in price. I think it is abnormal.
As a seasoned hitchhiker who is accustomed to travel long distances for absolutely free, for me, these spikes in transportation prices are terrible. I don't like using buses to move between cities. However, sometimes, I have to use them. In case, hitchhiking is completely dead in a country, there is no other way but to pay for a bus. This is what I truly hate while backpacking. I love hitchhiking-friendly countries.
Real estate prices also increase with dramatic speed. Flat rental prices spike like crazy. Nowadays, people say that the least expensive flat to rent in Antalya costs 500$. Thus, you have to pay 500$ for a rent, 500$ to a middle man, and 500$ as a deposit. It is a terribly complicated flat rental routine.
Even though Turkey is a democratic country, public protests are nonexistent here. Prices increase, but people are silent.
For backpackers, expensive countries are the best places to travel. This is why I find Turkey not the most backapcker-friendly country.
A WEAK OR ALMOST DEAD HITCHHIKING
In past, hitchhiking was very easy in Turkey. Whether you were in south or north of the country, you could easily hitchhike long distances without worrying about your time. Nowadays, the situation is completely different. In southern part of the country, where Kurds live, hitchhiking works very well. In regions of the country, hitchhiking is dead.
I will cover the topic of hitchhiking in Turkey in more details in some of my future articles. There are loads of reasons why drivers don't stop to hitchhikers as frequently as they used to in past.
As a backpacker who prefers free rides between cities, I hate the weak hitchhiking in Turkey. It makes me spend money on buses which aren't cheap.
A WIDELY SPREAD NATIONALISM
Turkish people are generally very good and helpful. However, there are some negative traits that I have recognized in a big number of Turks. Nationalism is one of them. Some Turks discriminate Arabs, and specifically, Syrian and Afghan refugees. For most of Turks, Syrians and Afghans are people of the second sort.
I look like an Arab, and therefore, I have experienced this nationalistic and discriminative attitude. Some of them were asking me "Are you Syrian?" while arrogantly looking into my eyes. This nationalistic arrogance has no foundation since most of the Turks are poorly educated and don't even speak English.
I thank the Turkish government for accepting refugees from Syria and Afghanistan. However, you should also respect and not discriminate your guests. You might say that Syrian men are comitting crimes against locals, and this is why Turkish people despise them. This is not the cause. Nationalism is the main culprit of this problem.
I have also had a lot of conversations with Syrians in Turkey, and they told me that they face a lot of discrimination in Turkey. These people have no options. Arrogance is the root of nationalism. It would be good if Turks learned to equally respect people regardless of their nationality and ethnicity.
These are some of the things I dislike about Turkey. The country is a paradisiacal travel destination. However, it isn't exempt of some big drawbacks.
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