Just before we clambered aboard our life raft and paddled back to Blighty, we learned that the popular and dashing Mayor of Bodrum had been arrested by a detachment of Polis and carted off to jail, supposedly on bribery and corruption charges. Such transgressions are nothing new. A nod, wink and palms well-greased have made a vital contribution to the mad march of little white boxes up and down the Turkish coast (and elsewhere around the Med). When mega money meets meagre purse the outcome is often a foregone conclusion. Even the honest and the honourable can be led (or forced) into temptation by big business bullies or murderous mafia gangsters. As a vetpat of our close acquaintance remarked recently:
“If an ugly thug in a shiny suit strutted into your office, casually placed a loaded gun on the desk and made thinly veiled threats to you and your nearest and dearest, what would you do?”
However, there may be more to this Mayor’s rapid fall from grace than meets the eye. Rumours abound that he is a victim of trumped up charges because he refused to join the governing AK Party. Certainly, the arrest was carefully staged with the media in full attendance. Smile for the camera, Mr Mayor, you’re going to be on the six o’clock news. It’s not implausible. The current administration do not have a particularly tolerant attitude towards opposition. Locking people up at the drop of a fez is their forte. Is this evidence of a spiteful government tightening its grip on power or simply another a greedy public servant caught with his snout in the trough? Time will tell but neither outcome will do Turkey any favours.