What should happen to the coins that people toss in a fountain so their wish may come true? A village in western Turkey is now grappling with this very question.
Şirince, a quiet village near Selçuk in İzmir, shot to international fame in 2012 when people from all over the world descended, believing it would be one of two places on Earth to be spared from the doomsday predicted on an ancient Mayan calendar.
That prediction failed but the tourist boom prevailed. Some 1.5 million tourists visit the village every year and the recently restored ancient St. John Baptist Church is one of its most popular tourist spots. For many, the fountain in the church courtyard, a private property, is a sacred place where wishes come true if you toss one or more coins. The abundance of coins filling the fountain eventually led to a dispute over who owns the coins.
A court in Selçuk ruled in favor of the municipality but it was ordered to pay TL 830,000 ($147,408) to the owners of the cafe on the churchyard who also own the fountain.
Mayor Dahi Zeynel Bakıcı says that they wanted to expropriate the fountain four years ago but owners objected and launched legal action. "Expropriation is about to be concluded, except an appeal process," he said, adding that the coins accumulated in the fountain will be transferred to public coffers. "We will be pleased if money is transferred to the municipality," Bakıcı said.