Istanbul is a destination: Straddling the Sea of Marmara and the Bosporus Strait, this centuries-old city stands at the geographic and cultural crossroads of Europe and Asia.
You may not know it, but if you have a Meridian Yacht and you plan to visit Turkey, you will not be alone. Trio Deniz, Turkey’s exclusive Meridian Yachts dealer, has an expert team ready to support any Meridian owner, whether visitor or resident.
An overhead view of the Meridian
Yachts 391, a model tested by the BoatTEST.com team of captains.
See the full test of
the Meridian Yachts 391 Sedan Bridge...
One of those residents is Trio customer and Meridian 391 owner Murat Irengun. He’s
certainly fond of the city he grew up in—his parents kept a summer house in nearby
Dragos on the Sea of Marmara—but he’s quick to dismiss it when the conversation
turns to boating. “Istanbul, it’s a congestion of traffic,” he cheerfully complains.
His passion for boating began as a kid. Murat says, “I had my 50-hp Johnson with
a 6-meter-long boat. It became an 8-meter and a 9-meter, and the engines, accordingly,
Meridian Yachts 441 Sedan
Bridge cruising past the Beylerbeyi Palace, Belyerbei Istanbul.
For much of his career, Murat was part of Turkey’s textile industry, running a company
that supplied parts for mechanical looms. He sold the business in 1998 in favor
of part-time consulting work—and more time on the water. Throughout his adult years,
Murat and his friends have taken to Turkey’s western shores and the unblemished
waters of the Aegean Sea. “That is the most beautiful part of Turkey for boating,
starting from Izmir and going along the coast toward the south,” he adds. Today,
Murat owns a summer home in the centuries-old peninsular city of Bodrum. He keeps
his 391 in Bodrum’s marina, where it lives among antique wooden sailboats called
gulets and the imposing Bodrum castle, which dates back to 1402.
Looking across the Gökova Bay in Bodrum and the Bodrum castle.
Bodrum lies on a long, wedge-shaped stretch of water called Gökova Bay and is shielded
from the open sea by numerous small islands, many of which are part of Greece. The
tightly packed geography and winding coastline prove ideal for the brand of carefree
boating Murat relishes. “What Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera is to France, Bodrum
is to Turkey in summertime,” he says. Indeed, the area’s winter population of roughly
60,000 can easily hit a million or more during the height of summer.
“It’s so convenient from there,” Murat says of Bodrum, “to go to beautiful clear-water
coves, to bays, secluded areas. Kos Island with my Meridian 391—it’s 40 minutes
from Bodrum Marina. Or two hours from Bodrum to Symi Island, right across Datça”—another
long, narrow bay south of Gökova.
Island- and marina-hopping along Turkey’s Aegean coast is nothing Murat invented.
For decades, vacationers have been chartering the gulets and their crews for getaways
tellingly known as “blue cruises.” “You hire them weekly, and you anchor in all
these beautiful bays,” Murat explains. “The nature is so nice, and you swim in the
crystal-clear water, fish, snorkel and dive. They all have diving facilities onboard.
It’s just beautiful.” He and his friends have chartered a gulet every summer since
the ’80s, and it was the pleasure of overnighting on these 40-foot yachts that convinced
Murat he needed to upgrade from the runabouts he had been using to a spacious liveaboard
vessel of his own. He began with mid-sized cabin cruisers, and then ultimately found
that the 391 suited his needs perfectly. Well, at least for now. Murat will be one
of the first owners of a Meridian 541 Sedan.
Meridian 541 underway powered
by twin Zeus pod drives.
See the full test of
the Meridian Yachts 541...
He and Murat Bekiroglu of Trio recently visited Florida to see the 541 prototype
in person. “I came to do the test drive, actually, to see whether I would be able
to manage it myself—and it was so easy with the latest technical facilities,” he
explains, alluding to the 541’s joystick-operated Zeus system. “That was amazing,
really,” he laughs.
The trip was actually Murat Bekiroglu’s second within three months to show his customers
the 541. Evidently, that kind of service is a matter of course at Trio. “It all
relies on the dealer—the services and the relationship,” Murat Irengun says. “There
are so many other companies—the Italians and some others. But it all relies on how
keen they are on their servicing matters. Whenever I phone Murat at Trio, somebody
comes down to Bodrum”—an hour-long flight from Istanbul. “This counts. This is something.”
Meridian owner and cruising
enthusiast Murat and his friends.
Knowing he has Trio to rely on may go far to explain Murat’s attitude toward his
days—and sometimes weeks—on the water. “We don’t really plan in advance a lot of
things,” he says. For instance, Murat and his friends might find themselves anchored
outside the gorgeous seaside town of Bozburun. “So, while we are there, we can say,
‘Do we have enough petrol? OK, let’s go to Knidos,’” he says. The anchor comes up,
the 391 turns west toward the tip of the Datça peninsula, and soon the Meridian
is splitting the turquoise water en route to the ancient city.
“Or, spontaneously,” Murat goes on, with a wide smile on his face, “we say, ‘OK,
you like the grilled octopus in Kos at so-and-so restaurant? Let’s go there.’ That’s
how it works.”
Written by Roger Kamholz | Photography courtesy of Trio Deniz and Murat Irengun