Göltürkbükü; a seaside town in the fertile geography of unending discoveries and persistently alive beauties, owned by no one but belongs to everyone, in Bodrum Peninsula of Turkey's Aegean coast. A place where each summer the worries are dropped at the check as soon as one sees the road sign placed at 19th km from Bodrum centre. This is the place where neither the global warming nor the EU is talked about.
Göltürkbükü is the heaven where countless different worries are left at the door step and rose-colored, crazy, seductive and fun filled aromas of provocative fantasies, all in a luggage, bring in the sun thirsty and undeterred bodies who submit their souls to infinite blue, music, dance and love in all colours; to some, living is to fall into the arms of crowds, to others the blue bosom of loneliness. Some want to be shadows of the sun in the day time and a star at night and the single common aim of those living in this seaside town, Göltürkbükü, is to be able to merely exist in life..
The town was renamed ‘GÖLTÜRKBÜKÜ’, following 18 April 1999 Elections,after the administration of the village and its outer skirts were merged. The small fishing village, Gölköy, nowadays in a fierce competition with the neighbouring Bodrum town, was famously known as Carianda for its vineries and wine making in the Mythological world of Carians and known as Madnasa Village in the era of Lycians, was merged with the adjoining fishing village, Türkbükü (Turkish Village-Turkish Sector), reputedly named Greek sector-Greek Village (Rumbükü-Rumköy) prior to arrival of Turks.
In order to get to Göltürkbükü, where the mountain slopes are adorned with summer residences and incomparable villas, the shores scattered with famous hotels, beaches and restaurants and in contrast to that, where the inner sections of the town is neglected, bush ridden ruined cisterns, dilapidated buildings, rock tombs and a few deserted wind mills over the hills attract attention, one needs to follow the shore line turning right to Torba direction when travelling through to Gulluk junction towards Bodrum.
For those who choose to travel by land, there are minibuses available from the Bodrum centre to the town and the 22 km trip takes about half an hour to get there. 45 km from the airport, if one chooses to get to Göltürkbükü by sea; small landing bays for smaller craft are abundant. However the place is pretty barren and is exposed to northeast winds. It is observed that some people drop anchor at some of the restaurant docks. Whatever the speed of the wind, the sea is always warm in Türkbükü Bay.
On the map; the salty water of Aegean engulfs the geography, this naughty child surrounded by blue on one side and steppes on the other, from North and East. It is a friend of Gundogan in the West and Torba in East. Badem Island and many smaller islands are scattered around in the South of Gulluk Bay between Mesire Burnu and Saplı Burun, overlooked by the utmost conceited and a sole, a solid and proud town, Türkbükü and protect the town from the ferocious winds. No matter how hard the winds blow, they are constantly subsided to a silky sheet of breeze over the earth. One could imagine the sea is pretending to be a lagoon. The bay, surrounded by hills, seems as though it is a piece of the moon fallen into the sea. Although there is an anti propaganda against them, fishing farms are located on various spots in full operation. The port, like a calm and patient host, meets the visitors at this most popular drop in point for yachts.
Surrounded by abundant pine forests, olive and citrus groves, the town are also well known for its palm trees. Legend says that Gölköy has always been a fishing town and was named after a small lake hereabouts, surrounded by palm trees. Native to the area, the most important feature of the palm trees, Phoenix from the Palmea family to be precise, is that they do not burn.
The Azmak River divides the dignified, virtuously tranquil sea, with a 14-15 meter long bridge, like the sharp edge of a knife does, constructed over it. Just like the sea, the summer souls are divided and there you have a ‘Them and Us’ syndrome. Affordable restaurants and pensions versus the establishments which serve the jet set on the other side. Lives are just like the shores, divided by the river; whilst a glass of Bloody Mary brews the blood on one side, some other spirit grants the joy of life on the other. What the bridge divides into two is just like the famous novel of Halit Ziya Uşaklıgil, ‘The aqua blue and the black’, describes... Two different worlds and two different lives. Like reality and dreams...
‘The nights and days have also been divided into two, just like the lives.’ according to Mr. Kamil Erenyatır, director of Dina Palmyra, the most famous hotel in the town, which is considered as the border stone on the section reminiscent of St.Tropez, Nice and Monte Carlo, serving those pleasure seeking elite with over a hundred personnel and a thousand and one kinds of comfort at their disposal, starting from 300 euros per room.
Contrary to the belief that people come to relax, he claims that the people are there to have fun and also draws our attention to the differences between Bodrum and Türkbükü. In the high season between July and August, % 90 of their customers consist of Turkish Holiday makers and as it is the address for flash names, the night life starts at 23:30, continuing through to the early hours of the next morning. Whereas, he states ‘one could have a nice holiday on the other side as well’
Attracting a growing number of million dollar investments each year, the town and the prices along with it glitter like the stars and submission of souls and suntanned bodies to paparazzi lenses, sun, sea and multi coloured cushion spotted beaches is at its utmost.
The inhabitants of Türkbüküwood, all keeping up with the burning rhythm of the sun, parade with most glamorous rags and bikinis on throughout the day time, lazing about on red and purple cushions strewn around on the mixture of sand and pebbly beaches or gracefully resting on any one of the small quays penetrating into the sea from the sides of every hotel, restaurant or night club.
As the night falls on to the hillsides of the town as though a silken shawl, the quays are transformed into restaurants. Able to find menus of various types and affordability, the holidaymakers could just feed themselves with reasonably priced bureks, deserts and mantı on one side of the town or those who have unlimited resources could titillate their palates with the most luxurious food on the other.
No one will be disappointed easily since there is a favourable place for every purse. Compared to the Tropez atmosphere of the yonder, extremely humble, cheap, tawdry jewellery as well as various clothing made out of local fabric adorn the counters of the local sellers on this side. Some of the local inhabitants like to reproachfully underline that they do not even bother crossing to the so called ‘Türkbüküwood’ side.
Mr. Halil İbrahim Kaynar, Mayor of Göltürkbükü ferociously denies the so called ‘‘bridge’’ and ‘‘them and us’’ syndrome. Though, he somehow seems to accept that the businesses are divided into two categories when he utters “The tradesman of both sides makes good profits. Those who don’t know the game lose. Things are better now than they were before. ‘’ He says they are happy that in terms of promotion, they don’t need to do much because Göltürkbükü is the single most place which draws extreme media focus. He makes known that sometimes the dues they have to pay back as a result of fame is also heavy and that everybody makes money in the town but that the profit speculators, who are jealous of the performance of the town and want to divert the tourism potential of the town to other regions, create storms in a teacup at times.
Kaynar adds ‘‘those who cannot find a shelter goes. We want those who know tourism business’’ in all his sincerity. ‘‘I am involved in tourism business. In the beginning, we were the pioneers and didn’t know the business. But now, %90 of people here are conscious of potential of tourism’’. He continues to say that ‘’ the council has passed radical resolutions this year’’ and serious measures would be taken to prevent visual and noise pollution.
When we ask about the need for a marina, the Mayor declares that he is not at all for a marina because of the pollution such a place may create and continues ‘‘the place is a natural marina anyway. We will construct a temporary docking point. We are taking the pollution issue seriously and have strict control procedures. Inspections about the Jet-Skis are on the increase. We have placed buoys on the shores. We will initiate the ‘Shore Project’ as soon as the construction season starts. We will create a spotless shoreline and dismantle all of the other existing docks. As such, we will prevent the disagreements’’ and goes on to add ‘‘Türkbükü will never lose its attraction. The only problem is the traffic and the security. We are not a policing force but we make an extreme effort to prevent violence. The population rises up to 40 thousand in 3 months. Thus, we have to tolerate some behaviour.’’ Mr.Kaynar makes a proposal to those who tend to slander Türkbükü ‘‘Evaluate the exploitative potential of Karaada in all Bodrum Peninsula, invest in the island in order to draw more tourism’’
The town is the right address for those who want to live the life to the full for reasons amongst many other, be it to recite the most catchy phrases of the famous poem ‘‘ I long for a home/Where life, like love, is heartfelt/Where, if ever there is a complaint,/ Let it be only about death’’. GÖLTÜRKBÜKÜ with its waters, the magnificently calm bay and the frivolous nights is undoubtedly the most famous town in Bodrum Peninsula…