Different Iranian Tourist Experiences in Turkey. Case Studies: Istanbul, Antalya, Konya
Hashemı Moghaddam, Amır
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Every year, more than two million Iranian tourists travel to different cities in Turkey. In these different destinations, they gain different experiences. However, since no serious research has been done on them so far -except journalism reports-, little is known about their experiences. Therefore, understanding the experiences of Iranian tourists in various destinations in Turkey was the aim of this dissertation. To do this, the three destinations of Istanbul, Antalya and Konya were selected as case studies. The research methods were ethnography (especially with techniques such as participant observation and deep interview) and documentary analysis (especially in the study of Iranian travelogues to Turkey). Theories of "Long-distance Nationalism" (Anderson. 1992) and the "Social Drama" (Turner, 1969) were more widely used to examine this issue. The findings show that Iranian tourists generally travel to Turkey to gain cultural and social freedoms, and that consuming parts of Iranian culture that are neglected in Iran itself (such as Iranian pop music or Iranian Sufism) is one of their special experiences in Turkey. In these experiences, nationalism is seen in various ways among the speech and behavior of Iranian tourists. This distance from the control of the Iranian government and the experience of the forbidden or neglected Iranian culture creates a liminal atmosphere which, although violates the rules of the structure of the official culture in Iran, has its own structure. The dissertation concludes with the claim that Iranians' travel to Turkey can be expressed in terms of tourism in voluntary and short-term exile.