Back to Turkey

In advance of a trip to Turkey, Dalrymple ponders the conditions there. Besides the recent increase in terror attacks in Istanbul, Turkey under Erdogan has become more politically repressive. While not an actual police state, it’s not exactly free either. Even if his safety is hardly in doubt, should he refuse to go out of disapproval of Erdogan’s policies?

I am not much one for grand gestures such as refusal to go to a country because I reprehend its leaders. This would not only leave me with very few places actually to go, but I am rather skeptical about the practical effects that my absence from a country would actually have by comparison with my presence. Besides, I have, within limits, generally found that people with bad governments are more agreeable than those with (relatively) good ones. Moreover, my most memorable trips, the ones that have had the profoundest effect on me, were always to the worst places in the world. Worst at the time, that is—rankings can change with surprising speed. And in any case Turkey is very far from being the worst. My only regret about my forthcoming trip is that I booked it before the coup attempt: Prices have fallen markedly since, with people deciding to go somewhere else.

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