An Armenian tourist who plans to spend his holiday in Turkey is offered Mediterranean beaches, five-star hotels, perfect pastime and vivid impressions. Believe us, vivid impressions are guaranteed, whereas the desired blue water and five-star hotels are only a dream. The Saranjyans, who recently returned from Turkey, met with a NEWS.am correspondent. Below is a story told by the housemother Lianna Mamayan.
“The doctor advised a rest by the sea for my younger son’s health. We decided to go to Turkey. We applied to the Tez Tour travel agency. We preferred the Aventura-park five-star hotel in Alanya. We paid U.S. $4,000 for four and insured ourselves. On July 6 we went to Alanya and on our way there we knew from our companions that we were the only family to stay at Aventura-park. I was a little worried – I thought it would be better for us to have our nationals with us, because we were going to Turkey.
“In short, our family went to the Aventura-park hotel. It was claimed to be a five-star hotel. The same information was on the Internet. However, an unbiased ranking would not even rank it among 3-star hotels. The seashore was dirty and we knew that the sewage was flowing into the water for swimming. To switch on the air conditioner we had to have a deposit, the linens were dirty. We ‘enjoyed our holiday’ this way until July 16, when we had an incident no tourist in any civilized country would meet with. First of all, the male personnel were going beyond all the bounds in dealing with women, especially Russian women – no matter they were with their friends or even married.
“We had the impression that the hotel staff did their best to please the hotel owner and his son. The girls they struck up acquaintance with were seen in company with the hotel owner and his son the same evening. Two girls from Russia, one of them an Armenian girl, were staying at the hotel with us. The hotel staff members tried to strike up acquaintance with them, but were turned down. On July 16, the girls were sitting at the table in the lounge. They were working on their laptop. Waiters approached their table and pulled the cloth off the table so that the laptop nearly fell on the floor. The girls reproved the waiters, but they got into an argument and told the girls to ‘shut up.’ Four young men from Russia were sitting at the next table – two of them Armenians. They tried to find out what had happened. In answer, Turks used foul language, and there was a scuffle. The security guards did not do anything to part the sides. All the male staffers attacked the four boys and beat them up in everybody’s presence. At last, some of the holiday-makers interfered and parted the sides. The young men were taken to one of the lounge bars.
“At that moment, my husband and I were coming back to the hotel and tried to get in touch with our elder son Hovhanes. At that very moment, Hovhanes returned to the lounge. The four young men, who had made friends with him before, asked him to bring their mobile phones. One of the hotel staff members hit Hovhanes with his shoulder and, turning back to him, insulted him. Hovhanes said he was careful, but the Turk began to push him. There was a fight, and 20 people beat up my son. A Tatar man from Russia tried to help Hovhanes rise, but the Turks attacked the man, beat him and broke his ribs. When I saw Hovhanes after the scuffle, I could not recognize my son. His face was swollen even after we washed the blood off. When my husband Artur tried to find out what had happened, about 20 hotel staffers took him and his friend Khachik out of the building and beat them up. One of the staffers took out a knife, another sprayed tear gas.
“The nightmare lasted for three hours. I could not turn to anyone for explanations. There was an Armenian woman from the United States with us. She spoke Turkish. I asked her to talk to the hotel owner. I told her that the hotel personnel were outraging, and we would complain. ‘Who are you going to complain to? I have no problems in Alanya. Complain to whoever you want,’ the owner said. When he knew we were from Armenia, he was filled with disgust.
“A Tez Tour agent arrived at the hotel. He could not do anything to calm down the hotel staffers who were in the ‘heat of passion.’ I told him Hovhanes needed medical aid. He had been stuck on the head. The agent told me he could not get in touch with Armenia to specify the insurance. He told me to get in touch with Yerevan myself. I showed him the documents proving the insurance, but that did not help.
“Toward midnight Turkish policemen arrived and arrested the four Russian young men, my husband and Khachik. They came to our room to arrest Hovhanes. I thought it was a nightmare.
“I told the Turkish policeman he could not arrest my son, who was under age. He was saying something in Turkish, moving forward to put handcuffs on Hovhanes. I lost my nerves. I began to shout at him, saying I would sue him and all police for illegally arresting innocent persons, whereas those guilty were walking about the hotel. I told him that arresting a boy under age was a crime.
“At last I told him to arrest me and my 11-year-old son because I was not going to leave my children alone. The policeman looked at me and left the room.
“My husband and Khachik did not stay at the police station long. The Tez Tour agent went to the police station and talked to them, asking them to release Artur and the other arrestees. They were released, but the policemen tried to trump up charges against the four Russian boys. They were charged with starting a drunken brawl. I do not know how, but Artur and his friends persuaded the policemen to release the boys.
“I had never felt so helpless and lonely. I could not hold back my tears after we came back. The group members asked me about what had happened, and I told them.
“At that moment a woman said: ‘They should have behaved themselves, nothing would have happened. I have spent my holiday in Turkey for five years, and nothing like that has ever happened to me. Let them set normal prices in their Armenia, and I will spend my money there.
“I was stunned. There was no point in answering. But our family decided to never visit Turkey again.”
P.S. NEWS.am reminds readers that Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic relations, and Armenian citizens are defenseless in case of any legal or other problems.