Didim, a resort town in the western province of Aydın, has long been a popular destination for British tourists and expatriates. Long-time residents of the town hailing from the United Kingdom expressed their appreciation of Turkey’s assistance to expats during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic process, hailing the country's health care and social support.
The town, which is known for its pristine beaches, coves and the ruins of the ancient Greek Temple of Apollo, attracts foreign tourists and Britons looking to start a new life. Currently, 2,500 expatriates, mostly from the United Kingdom, reside in this town of more than 90,000 people.
Most expats preferred to stay in Didim when the coronavirus pandemic broke out in their countries last year. The majority of them have been living in the country for more than a decade. Social support crews catering to Turkish citizens also reached out to expats. Vefa Social Support groups and local governorate staff helped them cope with the pandemic, especially when they were confined at home due to curfews, delivering their groceries and other necessities to their homes. Expats also benefited from the vaccination campaign and so far, 884 expats eligible for vaccination were inoculated.
Helene McGowan, a resident of Didim for the past 13 years, says the pandemic was not “a difficult process” for her. “I am happy to be in Turkey during the pandemic,” she told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Sunday. “It has been easy thanks to the support of the municipality, governorate and police. They gave us rides to wherever we needed to go, like the bank. I also had my two shots of vaccines. Neither me nor my husband had any problems. It was perfect,” McGowan said in an interview from her balcony where she prominently displays a Turkish flag. McGowan also noted that Didim had few COVID-19 cases.
She also hailed the “incredibly easy” vaccination process. “We had our appointment and went to the hospital. We’ve got our vaccines without delay,” she said. McGowan added that it was “a right decision” to stay in Turkey during the pandemic. “This country is my home now. I definitely recommend it for holidaymakers,” she said.
Alan Douglas Mitchell, who has called Didim home with his wife Sandra Jane for 15 years, said the pandemic was “handled well” in Didim. “We had a small apartment in London, but I decided to live in this sunny, beautiful country, rather than cold and rainy (London). I am happy to be here. We had our shots, and everything was perfect. Turkey was safe during the pandemic and restrictions were well-organized. We were also informed well what to do if we needed aid. It was a smooth process for us,” he said. His wife hailed the health care system in Turkey during the pandemic, especially in terms of vaccination.