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Turkish Coast: Antalya Minus Its Russian Tourists

Nearly 3 million Russians visit Antalya every year, making it Turkey's most popular tourist destination for Russian speakers. But a diplomatic feud between Ankara and Moscow has buffeted the industry on the Turkish riviera. (Photographs by Vaiva Katinaityte)


The Kremlin Palace Hotel, popular among Russian tourists visiting Antalya, echoes Russia's famed seat of power in Moscow.
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The Kremlin Palace Hotel, popular among Russian tourists visiting Antalya, echoes Russia's famed seat of power in Moscow.

In early December, the sandy beach behind the Kremlin Palace Hotel lies largely empty. Even in low seasons in the past, however, Russian tourists visited Antalya for its warm temperatures.
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In early December, the sandy beach behind the Kremlin Palace Hotel lies largely empty. Even in low seasons in the past, however, Russian tourists visited Antalya for its warm temperatures.

The Matryoshka Park, with its oversized Russian nesting dolls and the white, blue, and red of the Russian tricolor, is located in Antalya's Konyaalti district.
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The Matryoshka Park, with its oversized Russian nesting dolls and the white, blue, and red of the Russian tricolor, is located in Antalya's Konyaalti district.

The five-star Hotel Delphin Palace caters to some of the huge number of Russian tourists that visit this coastal resort city each year.
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The five-star Hotel Delphin Palace caters to some of the huge number of Russian tourists that visit this coastal resort city each year.

One of the many sparkling souvenir shops clustered around the hotels that Russian tourists frequent. 
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One of the many sparkling souvenir shops clustered around the hotels that Russian tourists frequent. 

Ahmet Hamdi Karagoz, owner of Antalya's Olbia Hotel, ​says Antalya's tourist infrastructure, its proximity to Moscow -- just a 2 1/2-hour flight -- and the two countries' visa-free relations have made the resort city "perfect" for Russians.
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Ahmet Hamdi Karagoz, owner of Antalya's Olbia Hotel, ​says Antalya's tourist infrastructure, its proximity to Moscow -- just a 2 1/2-hour flight -- and the two countries' visa-free relations have made the resort city "perfect" for Russians.

The restaurant of the Olbia Hotel, like the hotel itself, was virtually empty on this early December weekend.
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The restaurant of the Olbia Hotel, like the hotel itself, was virtually empty on this early December weekend.

Employees say business at Antalya's Mudem Tour travel agency, which relies heavily on Russian customers, is at a standstill.
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Employees say business at Antalya's Mudem Tour travel agency, which relies heavily on Russian customers, is at a standstill.

A fur and leather shop in Antalya that has drawn brisk business in the past. 
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A fur and leather shop in Antalya that has drawn brisk business in the past. 

Sea Life, a spa hotel in central Antalya, is also popular among Russian visitors. But many of the hotel's guests are currently from western Europe. 
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Sea Life, a spa hotel in central Antalya, is also popular among Russian visitors. But many of the hotel's guests are currently from western Europe. 

The Mamma Ruski restaurant has catered to the sizable Russian expatriate community in Antalya, as well as to the many Russian tourists that poured into the city. 
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The Mamma Ruski restaurant has catered to the sizable Russian expatriate community in Antalya, as well as to the many Russian tourists that poured into the city. 

There are more than 300 glitzy, five-star hotels that hug Antalya's coastline. 
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There are more than 300 glitzy, five-star hotels that hug Antalya's coastline. 

Antalya's virtually empty beaches are usually buzzing with tourists, even during the winter months when temperatures hover around 20 degrees Celsius.
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Antalya's virtually empty beaches are usually buzzing with tourists, even during the winter months when temperatures hover around 20 degrees Celsius.

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