Changes and procedures outlined in a recent meeting between the ORA and Oludeniz Council.

A meeting was held recently between the ORA and Oludeniz Belediye to outline changes and procedures to the way that funerals are funded and carried out for foreigners. 

The Mayor explained that the normal Turkish way to hold a funeral was for the family members to select a grave plot and dig the grave and then bury the deceased within a 24 hour period of the death. It was recognised that this was not the European way or Christian way and so it was felt that facilities needed to be provided for foreigners who die in this area and who want to be buried here in Turkey.

In all major Turkish cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Antalya the handling of funerals and burials with on going maintenance of graves is now sub contracted by the Turkish government to private companies who often make high charges to provide these services. In this area it is the responsibility of the Belediye but as they now have to provide staff to do these works they will now make a standard charge of 1,000 lira. The Belediye will include within this the cost of transport of the body from a hospital in the Fethiye area to the cemetery, digging the grave and filling in afterwards, carrying the coffin and maintenance of the area around the grave. The costs for the hospital and undertaker in making the coffin and any hospital charges are extra. The charge for 2009 year is likely to remain the same.

On this basis the Belediye has agreed to set up a project from October that will plan out where the plots will be, improve and landscape the cemetery area at the edge of Ovacik, but that this project will cost £30,000 and so the Mayor asked if residents could set up a fund from which a contribution could be made. He also suggested that the target contribution may be £10,000 and that maybe the deceased family, or others who intended to be buried here, would put forward a significant contribution towards the target figure. The cemetery area will have separate sections for Turkish and for Foreigners. The entrance road will be improved significantly but they are awaiting some permission from the Forestry Commission before they can commence works.

A summary of the Q&A session is shown below:

1.What documentation is needed for a funeral?

The deceased’s passport and death certificate has to have been obtained by the family / person acting on their behalf.

2.Can a resident or their family pick a burial place in the graveyard?

Yes once the new plan has been approved by the Belediye council members.

3.Is a deposit needed to reserve the plot?

This is still not known.

4.Will there be a marked plan of the plots and of the landscaped areas prior to the redevelopment?

Yes there will be.

5.What is the cost to have the grave dug in readiness for the burial?

This is included in the standard charge.

6.What is the cost to provide the men to carry the coffin during the burial?

This is included in the standard charge.

7.How does one collect the body from the hospital and what is the cost?

The Belediye have a vehicle in which to collect the body from the Fethiye area. Cost is in the standard charge.

8.What is the cost for the grave to be filled in using soil and stones?

This is included in the standard charge.

9.How are the graveyard and the burial place maintained? By the family? Is there any cost?

It will be maintained by the Belediye once the project has been approved later this year.

10.Are the Belediye going to landscape the graveyard site this winter?


11.Would the Belediye accept donations from residents to provide plants and stones and maintenance work or soil around the graves? E.g. a bench, special trees, soil, etc.

Yes but they need to agree what items and create a list of such items to be used subject the funds available. The Belediye would probably prefer cash to buy such items rather than items and they see this as part of the fund raising task.

12.How long is it before it is allowed to place marble around the grave?

For Muslims this is after 40 days. For Christians there is no specified time but out of respect possibly 7 days or longer.

13.If a deceased’s family want to have a brief message at the funeral done by the Hoca from the mosque what is the cost? 

This believed to be possible and free of charge although a donation to the mosque would probably be expected. It was also noted that David Groom is able to perform a suitable ceremony for the deceased if asked by their family and has done so very successfully on a number of occasions.

14.What other Turkish documentation, if any, is needed?

None mentioned

15.Can foreigners who have lived outside the Ölüdeniz area but were living nearby e.g. Fethiye and the surrounding area, be buried in this cemetery?

The Mayor has started dialogue with the Fethiye Mayor to see if this could be possible, also with a possible cost contribution.

It was also asked whether there was a crematorium in Turkey that may be used instead of burials. There is no such facility in Turkey but the Antalya City Council are looking into the possibility as a private venture but this needs government approval and this may take some time.