In this weeks round up of the local news republic day is celebrated, plans for a local rescue service, all-inclusive popular, mind your language, dam project on schedule and the end of the tourist season.

Republic Day Celebrated

We forgot to announce the public holiday last Thursday, 29th October, for Republic Day – the anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

So if you wondered what all the marching bands, wreath laying at the Atatürk Memorial and even a torchlit procession in the evening were all about – now you know.

Plans for Local Rescue Service

Fethiye could soon be the only place in Turkey to have its own dedicated medical rescue team.

There is a national organisation of such teams, Turkish acronym UMKE, which was set up in 1999 following the devastating earthquake in the Marmara region around Istanbul.

There are now some 3,000 medical professionals nationally who give their time as volunteers to a total of 31 UMKE teams distributed around the country.

The regional coordinator for UMKE, Hasan Ali Budak, believes Fethiye warrants its own team to be available for paragliding accidents and the risk of earthquake, which we all hope won’t happen.

He points out that normal ambulances are never able to reach victims of paragliding accidents, but believes UMKE’s specially equipped all-terrain vehicles with their own life-saving equipment and generators would, at the very least, lead to a reduction in loss of life on the slopes of Babadağ.

He claims UMKE is not hidebound by any form of bureaucracy, a factor that also helps reduce rescue time.

Now all he needs is 80,000TL as basic funding for the necessary vehicle – we wish him luck.

All-inclusive Preferred

The Chief Executive of Thomas Cook was in town to boost the morale of local tour operators.

Manny Fontenla-Novoa addressed an audience of local hoteliers and tour agents at Lycia World, and congratulated them on their performance this season.

Thomas Cook bookings to countries such as Spain, Greece and Tunisia were all down this year, but Turkey held its own.

However, he went on to state that 50% of Britons coming to Turkey with Thomas Cook want an all-inclusive holiday, and 2010 is going to be another difficult year with continuing fears of swine flu and terrorism, not to mention the on-going global credit crunch.

Finally he endeared himself to local foreign residents, as well as holiday makers, when he spoke about the ridiculously high prices charged at some Turkish airports.

Mind Your Language

It would seem the British ex pats are getting restless in Manavgat and Alanya.

They told journalists that they are fed up with local traders speaking German all the time, and being much more interested in German residents (who are in a vast majority in the area) than in the comparatively few British residents.

They claim the locals all speak German and don’t even bother trying to learn English.

Dalaman Dam On Schedule

And finally the Selçuk bridge at Akköprü, due to disappear when work on the Dalaman Dam is finally completed, is now scheduled to become an underwater attraction in 2010.

Muğla’s dynamic Governor, Mr Altıparmak, announced 97% of the work on the Dam was completed and he is determined to see the dam filled during 2010.

So go and visit the bridge while you still have the chance and if you don’t know where it is we’ll explain how later this week.

Last Person Turn the Lights Out

Last week marked the end of the tourist season in and around Fethiye.

Tourist bars, shops and hotels closed on the weekend as the last of the tourists departed.

For those tourists who did spend the last week in the area the weather was spectacular at times with heavy rain and thunderstorms.

It is also the great escape for the hundreds of staff working in the tourism sector who have returned home for the winter.

Dalaman Airport will now become quieter with only the domestic and the odd international flight touching down for the winter months.

The airport will be even quieter between the 21st November and the 20th December as flythomascook, according to their online schedule, will not be offering any of their usual flights to and from the UK and Dalaman Airport.