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Turkish culture for Foreigners

Exotic Tastes: Turkish Men Choose Foreign Brides

Didim cityI’ve always been fascinated by Turkish culture on many levels: the multi-faceted influences as East meets West that floods from Turkey’s 8 borders, the fusion of the traditional and the progressive mindsets that buzz within the nation.

I’ve been reading a lot about Turkish men lately, after stumbling across an article about Didim, where over the past couple of years, comparatively high numbers of Turkish men married British women.

I must say, I’m struggling to see the cultural similarities, (Nice cuppa PG and a chunk of Turkish delight?) but the statistics are clear as day, From January to October ’09 42 men from Didim married British women. Over the same period, one Turkish woman married a British man.

Cupid Clicks his Fingers?

Social networks and online dating have been cited as the principle ingredients for love that transcends land and sea.

Urban hubs such as Istanbul, where ADSL is evermore a household item and Internet cafes abound, seem natural fertile ground for Internet romance. What surprised me is that this rush of foreign attraction took place in the small seaside resort of Didim. The answer? Tourism!

Small Town Love

DidimOver the past decade, Brits have begun to buy holiday homes in Didim, establishing a visible community of many thousands, to the extent that utility bills in the district are now printed in English as well as Turkish. You can see the Union Jack and other British flags all around Didim, especially in the bars.

So Turkish man meets British woman, she goes home for the summer, and Bob’s your uncle – technology enables them to maintain contact until he pops the question.

Putting Marriage on the Map

Modern technology adds a foreign tint to ancient tradition in other parts of Turkey too, even in the most unlikely of places. The Yildirim Internet café in Gokce, a small village with a population of just 3200, near Turkey’s southern border with Syria has become the local lonely-hearts club.

Turkish men in the village pour into the café to surf for wives online and thanks to Turkey’s increased visibility in the middle east the potential Turkish husband has become quite a catch.

Turkey’s immigration laws enable Moroccan citizens to enter Turkey without a visa. In 2009, 10 Moroccan brides, including a 45-year-old who married a man 30 years her senior arrived in Gocke to get married. All were second wives, and more than a dozen more are expected to arrive in the coming year.

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