Some people have asked me whether it can possibly be a good idea to go on holiday to Turkey at the moment. Will it not be in the most appalling bad taste to go in search of sun and fun to a country where hundreds of thousands of people are in a state of mourning for their dead ones, and camping out in the rain beside the ruins of their homes?

I suppose the answer has to be yes. Before leaping in to snap up the latest bargain break to Turkey I would ask myself whether there wasn't something deeply unpleasant about capitalising on a drop in demand for Turkish holidays caused by an earthquake which had killed thousands of people. It would look as though my gain were the result of other people's pain.

Except, of course, that it wouldn't be. My gain would be the result of other holiday-makers choosing to visit, say, the Canaries instead of Turkey this autumn. And whose fault would that be? If nobody took holidays in countries which had problems, I doubt anyone would ever visit anywhere in the world, except for possibly Switzerland or New Zealand.

The people who are deserting Turkey out of respect for the dead may be causing far more pain for a country which relies so heavily on revenue from international tourism. The Turkish government itself is keen to point out that the popular coastal resort areas were not affected by the quake, so there can be no self-interested excuse for cancelling your holiday.

I think that wraps up the taste question - as long as you behave yourself while you are there. But perhaps that is the crux of the matter. It is a drag having to look respectful and sombre while on holiday. And it is difficult to guess the mood in the bars of Bodrum and Kusadasi. Perhaps the English are still getting drunk and the Dutch are still doing funny dances and the Germans are still taking their clothes off. But perhaps not. Perhaps the local people are in trauma. Perhaps the ambience is too depressing for northern Europeans who have just worked for 48 weeks in order to spend a fortnight living in total carefree freedom.

No. I fear that if you want to insulate yourself from other people's worries, then even the Canaries won't do the job. Tenerife has CNN as well. Perhaps you need to take a holiday from the world itself. And I am not thinking of a fortnight in the Mir space station.

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