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Hundreds of holiday home owners in Turkey selling up

Many of them are British who fear that they will not be able to keep up with mortgage payments and are concerned that tourism numbers will be low this year despite reports that more visitors than ever are expected.

Those who are keeping their properties are trying to find ways of making them pay including taking in bed and breakfast guests and renting them out even though they didn't in the past.

There are also reports of the banks repossessing holiday homes whose owners have defaulted on payments.

In western Turkey where a lot of towns rely on tourism for income, thousands of holiday homes are on the market. In Muğla's Fethiye district around 2,500 properties out of 6,500 owned by British people are on sale, according to the Real Estate Counsellors Federation.

'Fethiye is the district most severely affected by the crisis. Foreigners own 40% of the total property in Muğla,' said Ziya Ercan, the federation's vice chairman

The situation is similar in Marmaris, Bodrum and Aydın's Didim districts. In Didim about 200 English residents have sold their houses are others are for sale.

The Turkish government has said it will get involved in an advertising campaign to boost tourism. There were 23 million visitors to Turkey in 2008 and authorities had predicted that would increase to 30 million in 2009.

However, bookings are down on the same time last year and there are concerns that fewer people will take foreign holidays this year.

Meanwhile a nationwide survey has found that 73% of Turks are opposed to foreigners buying property.