An unusual picture in the old town of Kotor - Tavla, an ancient Persian game that, among other things, was taken over by the Turks in the past. The owner of the store is sure to win in this game.
Nufel Ćetinkaja opened a carpet store in Kotor in 2017. Like many of its compatriots, he chose Montenegro because he is close to Turkey, he does not need a visa, the currency is the euro, and tourism is - he says - in development, which he recognized as a business opportunity.
"We are from Istanbul and, of course, we have come here for the profit from the cruise ships," says Nufel.
In Montenegro, as the Ministry of Interior reports to RSE, 13 Turkish citizens have permanent and 2126 temporary residences. Out of 120 reported stores in Kotor, as reported by the municipality, 20 are Turkish - that is one-sixth.
It is similar in Budva, where more than 40 Turkish stores have been reported this season. The first entrepreneurs from Turkey have opened these shops in 2016. Among them was Džemal from Marmaris, who for 35 years sells footwear and leather goods.
"I loved Yugoslavia. I think it is good for me here. The town is tranquil and people are friendly," he says.
Almost all of our Turkish speakers point out the beauty of Montenegro, the friendly attitude of the local population, cultural and linguistic closeness. Among them is Adem Osturk, owner of a jewelry shop in Budva. "We understand each other. Even when I speak in my own language, such as a pillow, a quilt, linen," he says. There are several catering facilities in Budva as well as a Turkish restaurant. The owner Birol Yoleri moved with his family from Bodrum in 2017, where he lives and his children go to school in Budva. "I have two young children. I do not see any future for them in Turkey, but here yes. Plus - I'm doing something I've always done, and that's tourism," he said.
Still, many Turks in Montenegro are dissatisfied with the jobs. Most of them paid in advance on leases for shops and apartments, and this was more expensive because they had, with the cheap purchase, counted on a good sale.
Nufel Ćetinkaja, the owner of a carpet store in Kotor, says that if his business does not improve, he will not stay in Kotor for a long time. On the other hand, Birol Yoleri is pleased with the work of his restaurant. Both, however, confirm that there are more and more Turks in Montenegro - entrepreneurs, tourists, but also those who buy real estate.
Birol says that people probably do not feel secure in Turkey, so that's why they leave, while Nufel explains that the reason may be that they do not like the Turkish president.
The attempt of an alleged state attack in July 2016 against Turkey's President Tajip Erdoğan's cabinet and all that took place during the two-year state of emergency jeopardized, as our collocutors say, tourism and their jobs. The latest news on the record low value of Turkish lira does not rejoice them.
However, this season in Turkey, they say, is slightly better, thanks to a large number of guests from Russia. They are still among the most numerous tourists in Montenegro, which shows that politics does not affect them much, for now.
Text by RSE, on August 9th, 2018, read more at CdM