NewsBritish family’s seaside burial in Turkey sparks local outrage

British family’s seaside burial in Turkey sparks local outrage

Funeral of a 43-year-old Briton in Turkey
Funeral of a 43-year-old Briton in Turkey
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons

9:34 AM EDT, May 16, 2024

Residents of Marmaris, a seaside town in Turkey, were disturbed when they saw what British tourists were doing. As a group, they entered the water at Uzunyalı Beach to conduct a burial for a loved one. The contents of the urn with ashes were released into the Aegean Sea. Local health authorities were notified of the incident.

The burial of the British citizen, who wished to rest in his beloved place, took place on Monday. The 43-year-old man died in April last year due to complications from Covid-19, pneumonia, and a heart attack. He frequently visited Marmaris for holidays and sometimes worked in a bar there. The town became dear to him.

The family decided to fulfill his last wish and brought his ashes to Turkey. They bid him farewell with emotion. His parents, partner Fiona, two daughters – Talia and Dakota, granddaughter Dolce, and many friends and acquaintances were present at the carefully prepared ceremony.

However, none of the participants anticipated that the burial would alert the health authorities. The scattering of ashes caused a protest from the residents, who immediately notified the authorities. As reported by "Daily Mail," the local District Health Directorate conducted a swift investigation and took water samples.

It turned out that emptying the urn into the water did not increase hazards, and tourists relaxing at Uzunyalı Beach can safely swim in the blue waves. However, for the residents, this event was a shock.

The ashes of a Briton scattered into the sea. Turks are not keen on such ceremonies

Cremation is illegal in Turkey, and there are restrictions on bringing ashes into the country. Foreigners who tried to obtain official permissions for the burial of cremated loved ones often succeeded but faced severe resistance from the authorities.

Internet users sometimes share their experiences on forums. In the United Kingdom, scattering ashes is allowed, and for some reason, residents often wish to be taken after death to places where they feel happy.

A man who wanted to transport his wife's ashes from the UK to Turkey described the procedure as taking two years. He had to wait for approvals from the British airport, the airline, the Turkish airport, the Turkish government, local Turkish council officials, representatives of the central mosque, the Turkish police, and local port authorities.

The process can sometimes be accelerated with the help of Turkish funeral companies, whose owners know how to handle the formalities well. However, the matter usually raises social resistance. Turkey is a Muslim country, and although burying non-Muslims is allowed according to their burial practices, Islam does not permit cremation.

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