Ten traders in breach of licensing, hygiene and ‘hassling’ regulations have been fined, and had their businesses closed.

Five of them are market traders and the rest are located in central Fethiye (1), Çalış (2) and Ölüdeniz (2).

Much as we would love to know exactly who they are, they were not named in press releases.

Nor it say whether or not the closure is permanent, or merely for a given length of time.

However, owners of businesses concerned were, according to the authorities, given verbal and written warnings, and ample time to rectify the faults, before finally receiving their fine and closure notices.

So what defines ‘hassling’?

Well it can range from a simple unsolicited ‘Hello’ to the more extreme grabbing you and taking you into an establishment.

A holiday to Marmaris is safe and fun

Unfortunately many of the ‘professional’ traders or ‘hasslers’ see nothing wrong in greeting passers-by and offering their services or products but tourists are quick to point out that even saying ‘Hello’ is an unwanted and un-needed inturruption to an otherwise pleasant stroll or window shopping trip.

As one tourist stated ”After you’ve said hello thirty times in 20 minutes and been asked where you come from fifty times an hour it all gets a bit too much especially in the high heat of the summer”.

After being hassled constantly on their first excursion into the shopping or restaurant areas of the resort many tourists prefer to stay within the confines of their hotel for the remainder of their holiday.

The hassling problem reached epidemic proportions in and around Marmaris back in 2006 when many tourists vowed never to return to the resort because of the constant badgering from the ‘hasslers’. Local concerned business people set up a campaign to wipe out hassle and lobbied the authorities.

That group were in part successful in making the authorities realise that hassle was a real tourism problem.

Carrot and Stick

Old habits die hard. But traders were not expected to change their habits unaided and the authorities, as part of their campaign to take hassling out of the holiday experience, provided courses and booklets on how traders should approach tourists.

The effects of this training and information is slowly being felt with hassle now at an all time low. However, there are some traders who still don’t seem to get it or choose to ignore the law and they are now facing the consequences of their actions.

Hassling will probably never really die out though. The Turkish style of trading is very different the sterile, self service shopping experience that northern Europeans are used to.

Turkish traders would no doubt argue that the ‘personal touch’ they bring to their customer service is not hassle but good business practice and beneficial to both parties.

Hisaronu this week saw the first of the forced closures of businesses for ‘hassling’. Apparently a member of the Kaymakam’s office visited the village recently and made a list of more than 40 businesses which were hassling in his opinion. These have been listed and a leaked copy of this list has been circulating the area.

Wednesday afternoon saw the first of these premises receive visits from Jandarma and Zabita who put a seal on the entrance to the business. This closure order is for 3 – 4 days. The only warning given officially is a notification of closure given to the proprietor the day before.

The first group of businesses were closed this week, but others will follow, again only receiving notification the day before. If the hassling continues the closure will be for 10 days, and then if it still continues, the licence to trade will be revoked.

On the surface of things this will seem to be a victory for tourists and their peaceful promenading, while choosing a restaurant, bar, jeweller, barber, or excursion provider etc.