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Turkish property secrets

Despite the economic gloom back home, 2008 looks like being a bumper year for the Turkish tourist industry with early arrivals up 18% and experts predicting over 27 million visitors by the end of the year. Record numbers of British property buyers are also being attracted by the country's spectacular scenery, sandy beaches and excellent value for money. Official figures show over 20,000 British-owned properties concentrated largely in the established coastal resorts of Kusadasi, Altinkum, Bodrum and Fethiye. But it is also possible to find some great property in quieter areas, away from the package tourist crowds.

Hidden away in the unspoilt coastal mountains near Dalaman, Akkaya is a stunningly beautiful valley of olive groves and pine forests overlooking an emerald green lake. Despite the tranquility of the surroundings, Dalaman's international airport, which is served by Easyjet and package flights from the UK, is only 15 minutes drive.

"Over 750,000 British tourists passed through the airport last year on their way to the main resorts but very few stayed in the area and even fewer know about Akkaya," says Dominic Whiting, editor of the Buying in Turkey guide.  "Although Dalaman town itself isn't particularly picturesque, it offers a slice of authentic Turkish life and the surrounding countryside is extremely beautiful and there is a lot to do."

The long sandy beach at Sarigerme is a nesting site for sea turtles and a centre for water sports. There is also an 18-hole golf course due for completion in 2009/10. Nearby Dalyan has ancient ruins and boats run up and down the river to a beach, mud-baths and hot-springs. In Akkaya there is fishing on the lake and the area's paths are ideal for walking and mountain biking. For adrenalin-junkies there is white water rafting on the Dalaman River.

There are a selection of freehold villas and apartments available in Akkaya and a rustic restaurant beside a rushing mountain stream caters for residents. There is a complex of two bedroom apartments with a large communal swimming pool and fitness centre due for completion next summer. Prices start from £46,200- £64,050. For those wanting a villa there is a choice of three and four bedroom houses and a luxury bungalow, all with large gardens and a private, or the use of a large communal, swimming pool. Villa and bungalow prices range from £129,000-£157,000.

Sitting on an unspoilt stretch of coast between the better-known resorts of Cesme and Kusadasi, Ozdere is virtually undiscovered by foreign tourists and property buyers. A popular holiday destination for middle-class Turkish families, it is a small and friendly place with a permanent population of just 13,500. The area has over 24 miles of excellent sandy beaches backed by pine-forested mountains and citrus orchards.

"Ozdere is a secret the Turks have been keeping to themselves. The resort has fantastic beaches but is very laid-back and the people are incredibly friendly," says Dominic Whiting. "Without the attention of foreign buyers prices in Ozdere are lower than nearby resorts like Altinkum and Kusadasi. It is possible to buy a really well-built apartment within 5 minutes walk of the beach for £36,500."

There is strong and growing domestic demand for property in the area, which is popular with families from Izmir, a city of over 4 million people that is only 37 miles (60 km) away.

"Ozdere is an excellent investment opportunity with good potential for capital growth. The local rental market is buoyant with good quality apartments in demand for long lets by Turkish families during the summer," says Dominic Whiting.

Izmir international airport, which is served by year-round British Airways flights from the UK, is only 30 miles (50 km) or 35 minutes drive. If you want to do the tourist thing, the ancient site of Efesus, one of the country's most popular attractions, and the House of the Virgin Mary, held to be the resting place of Christ's mother, are 15 miles (25 km) from the town. There are many other smaller, rarely visited ancient sites dotting the countryside.

Ozdere itself has plenty of shops on its bustling main street and three supermarkets. There is a good choice of convivial restaurants and tavernas serving excellent value seafood and mouth-watering Turkish dishes washed down with the local aniseed spirit, Raki, locally produced wine or lager. A dinner for two with drinks costs less than £20. For those in search of nocturnal fun there are bars and a few discos open in the summer, but the local nightlife is low-key and aimed at locals rather than tourists. The town has a public hospital and several private clinics catering for permanent residents and visitors.