Talk the talk, but don't walk
LIFE is never dull, particularly in a place like Didim. Still a village at heart, but with a big city attitude, if it were human its current predicament could be reduced to growing pains!
Didim lurched a little further onto the tourist map this week with the announcement that we are finally to get a ferry to Kos. Albeit one year late and a promise of only one ferry for now, the news came as light relief in a month in which the community � both foreign and Turkish -- has suffered some setbacks.
Readers of this column will remember me exhorting the launch of the British group of Mahalle representatives several months ago, at the behest of the Mayor Mümin Kamacı who wanted foreigners to take a more active role where they lived.
Well, for the best part of nine months, a group of volunteers � yes, long hours, no pay � worked tirelessly for their community, picking up requests for street improvements, to water problems, to noise complaints, and seeking the ears of council workers to get the jobs done.
All seemed fairly amicable when some of the representatives even turned up for a jog on the seaside for the Peace Festival last August.
However, under the skin of happiness � and that of the representatives � was a growing frustration that the in-tray of jobs pending was not being matched by the council out-tray.
Fast forward to the beginning of this month and, after a collective washing of hands, the Mahalle representatives quit en-masse, taking a swipe at the lack of desire by the Didim Municipal Council to work with them -- and the community they were representing.
The group decided it was making little headway and all members resigned from their posts, citing the fact they had only achieved about five percent of the workload.
�When the mayor first invited us to become Mahalle representatives, we felt it was an honor and were excited at the prospect of solving problems and improving the lives of foreign residents,� according to a joint statement released by the group.
After many meetings and much hard work, energy and enthusiasm, little has been achieved and the lack of recognition and communication from the Belediye and community with the Mahalle representatives is extremely disappointing.
�Promises of feedback and cooperation have largely failed to come to fruition. It appears we have been banging our heads against a brick wall. It is with great sadness we feel we are wasting our time and energy and that no real progress has been made,� said the joint statement.
But the representatives were also struck by the lack of help and support from some quarters of the foreign community they were supposed to be representing.
Citing one incredible request, representative Magi Adıyaman said: �We all knew we were taking on a mammoth task and were more than prepared to put in the effort needed, even if a lot of it was at personal expense. We took telephone calls at all times of the day and night, though the negativity seemed never ending.�
�But the final straw was bumping into someone on the street and being asked �Oh Magi I'm pleased I saw you. Is there nothing you can do about this wind and the heat?' I said, �Sorry, my direct line to the Almighty isn't working. The Internet is down!'�
Meanwhile, Kamacı, stressing his disappointment at the group's decision to disband, said: �We are trying to help in every possible issue. We regard the foreign residents who have bought houses in Didim and made this their second home no different than the Turkish. We are genuine about this.�
This all goes back to the original desire for unity between the two communities. How serious is each side? It seems that growing together wi