Menu

Turkey with Simon Reeve

Show Synopsis

Adventurer and journalist Simon Reeve is on a journey around Turkey - a land of beauty and extremes, in a unique position at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. In this two-part series, Simon discovers a country undergoing dramatic and fundamental cultural and political changes.

Simon Reeve journeys around the dramatic and beautiful Turkey

Simon Reeve journeys around the dramatic and beautiful Turkey

Featured Videos

About the show

Simon Reeve sets off on the first leg of his two-part journey around Turkey, a dramatic and beautiful country that now finds itself at the centre of world events.

In this programme, he visits Istanbul and the beaches and crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea, before ending up at the war-torn border with Syria. In the region thought to have been the origin of the first vineyards, Simon meets a producer now trying to sell wine in a Muslim country with an increasingly conservative government. In Istanbul, he meets some of the people shaping modern Turkey, from loyal supporters of the nation's controversial and authoritarian president to the master builder constructing one of the world's largest mosques and the notorious billionaire cashing in on a Turkish property boom. Along Turkey's famous Turquoise Coast, Simon has a taste of luxury at the country's most expensive hotel, but discovers an industry on its knees as war in Syria and deadly terror attacks keep millions of holidaymakers away. Only one sector is bucking the trend - halal-friendly tourism.

Finally, Simon reaches Turkey's southern border where state-of-the-art camps have been built for hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria. Many are trying to carve out a new life in Turkey, and some are even learning Turkish, but the nearby thud of artillery and rockets is a constant reminder of the war just a few miles away.

Simon Reeve sets off on the second leg of his two-part journey around Turkey, a dramatic and beautiful country that now finds itself at the centre of world events.

In the Taurus Mountains Simon stays with descendants of the original Turks, nomads known as Yoruks, whose lifestyle is under threat from the modern world and an increasingly Islamic government. They're not the only minority at odds with the authorities in Turkey; Simon sees first-hand the devastating effects of fighting in the country's Kurdish region. In an area where the government has detained foreign journalists, Simon gathers unique footage in the aftermath of a crackdown on Kurdish militants - the wholesale destruction of the historic centre of one of Turkey's oldest cities.

Away from the conflict in the south, Simon heads towards the Black Sea coast. He meets a wildlife conservationist protecting Turkey's population of brown bears, and villagers who still communicate over long distances using an ancient bird language. In the country's capital he meets a victim of President Erdogan's authoritarian purge of people accused of complicity in the failed coup against him.

Finally Simon's journey comes full circle when he returns to Istanbul - home to the new craze of 'Ottomania', a celebration of the vast empire that preceded modern Turkey. Simon visits the set of one of the world's most popular TV dramas - even getting a speaking role - based in the court of an Ottoman sultan.

Next On

Episode 1, Series 1

Friday December 21 at 2:05pm

Gallipoli To The Syrian Border

Episode 1 | Series 1

Simon Reeve sets off on the first leg of his two part journey around Turkey a country at the centre of world events today.

Episode 1, Series 1

Saturday December 22 at 5:25am

Gallipoli To The Syrian Border

Episode 1 | Series 1

Simon Reeve sets off on the first leg of his two part journey around Turkey a country at the centre of world events today.

Episode 1, Series 1

Sunday December 23 at 3:55pm

Gallipoli To The Syrian Border

Episode 1 | Series 1

Simon Reeve sets off on the first leg of his two part journey around Turkey a country at the centre of world events today.

Episode 1, Series 1

Monday December 24 at 2:10am

Gallipoli To The Syrian Border

Episode 1 | Series 1

Simon Reeve sets off on the first leg of his two part journey around Turkey a country at the centre of world events today.

Episode 2, Series 1

Monday December 24 at 2:15pm

Taurus Mountains To Istanbul

Episode 2 | Series 1

Simon sets off on the second leg of his journey, where he sees firsthand the devastating effects of fighting in Turkey's Kurdish region.

Episode 2, Series 1

Sunday December 30 at 11:50am

Taurus Mountains To Istanbul

Episode 2 | Series 1

Simon sets off on the second leg of his journey, where he sees firsthand the devastating effects of fighting in Turkey's Kurdish region.

Episode 2, Series 1

Monday December 31 at 12:10am

Taurus Mountains To Istanbul

Episode 2 | Series 1

Simon sets off on the second leg of his journey, where he sees firsthand the devastating effects of fighting in Turkey's Kurdish region.

BBC Earth is available on

Newsletter Sign Up