Turkey will get its first nudist hotel when the Adaburnu Gölmar opens its doors to tourists on May 1. And, in a Muslim country led by an Islamic-oriented political party, the resort’s clientele hasn’t been an issue. Indeed, there is widespread support for the family-owned facility among local residents of the Mediterranean town of Datça, located near the Greek island of Rhodes. Selma Ünal, a member of the local chamber of commerce, echoes many by saying she sees the hotel’s nudist strategy as a way of diversifying their region’s tourist industry into a niche market.
While nudity will be allowed on the enclosed grounds of the all-inclusive resort from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the beach immediately in front of the hotel only allows topless sunbathers. Tourists wanting a totally clothes-free experience will have to take a 20-minute shuttle ride to a private beach. Helping protect against the sun’s rays, the hotel provides a goodie bag filled with a sarong, sunscreen and a hat.
While Turkey is legally secular, analysts worry the conservative nation is growing closer to its Muslim neighbours, especially as Europe shows no sign of allowing Turkey into its union. Yet Ebru Ilhan, of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, doesn’t see the government’s Islamist leanings as an issue for the nudist venture. “The current government is in favour of investment,” she explains. “So when you see new developments it’s less a political message and more of an economic one.” That business-oriented policy has paid off. Markets are bullish about Turkey’s economic growth, now second only to China among the world’s largest economies. For Datça jewellery shop owner Polat Tünçer, the new hotel is simply a way to compete with nearby Greek nudist resorts: “I think it is time Turkey takes its share of this pie.”