Although a high percentage said they wanted to learn the language only 60% were actually studying.

Fethiye Times firmly believes that, if you are going to live here, you should try to learn the language.  In this survey, in answer to the question ‘Do you want to learn Turkish?’ 414 people out of 471 respondents (87.9%) said ‘Yes’.  This was then contradicted by the response to the next question ‘Are you studying Turkish?’ when only 281 out of 464 respondents (60.6%) said they were. 

Turkish is not an easy language for Europeans to learn as it belongs to the Ural-Altaic language family and, despite Ataturk’s 1928 adoption of the Latin alphabet and the fact that Turkish is a purely phonetic language, its agglutination and the lack of familiar words and sounds, can make learning Turkish a very daunting prospect.

Provision of Turkish language learning courses is also open to question.  There is no common curriculum with external accreditation at all levels as is available in the UK in courses of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).  There is also no system of qualification/registration for Turkish language teachers who, from Fethiye Times’ experience, can vary greatly in knowledge and teaching skills.

As we know, community information announced via public address systems is sometimes done in English as well as Turkish in Ovacik – but not in any systematic fashion.  And, as far as we are aware, Fethiye has yet to make any announcements in English.  Until recently Didim Council issued water bills to settled foreigners in English but have now stopped this in the hope it will encourage more people to learn Turkish. It would seem that some local administrations with large numbers of settled foreigners have started to employ German and/or English speakers – a move that has surprisingly been criticized by some settled foreigners.  Fethiye Belediye highlights the names of members of staff who speak English.

Fethiye Times is one of many sources of information for settled foreigners.  We are committed to trying to explain the intricacies of Turkish bureaucracy, provide you with information on local events and encourage you to explore Turkish history, culture and the country itself. 

English-speaking settled foreigners can buy three daily national English language newspapers: Turkish Daily News, Today’s Zaman and the New Anatolian.  These papers cover national and international news and could be said to be required reading for British residents wanting to understand Turkish politics and culture.

Read the next part to find out how respondents in the survey viewed their relationships with Turks.