Clutching beer bottles and shot glasses, they bump glassy-eyed into angry-looking locals arriving to begin worship for Ramadan
It’s dawn and the heat is rising in the Turkish resort where friction pushes temperatures past boiling point.
The streets are bustling – but loudest by far is the worrying sound of two cultures, East and West, colliding.
A call to prayer from a mosque on the first day of Ramadan is drowned out by screamed obscenities from British tourists staggering past a 200-year-old temple at the end of another night’s heavy carousing.
Clutching beer bottles and shot glasses, they bump glassy-eyed into angry-looking locals arriving to begin worship for their sacred festival.
The drunken youngsters appear oblivious to the melting pot of violence and hatred they are helping to stir and it has already started to bubble over.
In the past two weeks, the image of the resort of Marmaris has been terrifyingly transformed.
It began when a 17-year-old Brit was stripped naked, stabbed 10 times and left for dead as he wandered home in the dark.
Dwayne Ward’s provocation was to be spotted by a gang kissing a local girl. His life was saved by a Turkish surgeon.
Then, seven days ago, shocking images showed holidaymaker Arron Saunders covered in blood after being smashed over the head with a glass bottle.
Disturbing reports have emerged of young Turks pushing tourists off their mopeds into busy roads.
But the violence isn’t one-sided. Last month a British man allegedly left a local taxi driver for dead after refusing to pay his fare.
Last week the Sunday Mirror visited the resort to investigate the disturbing rise in violence.
Police, many carrying automatic machine guns, have been drafted in from neighbouring resorts to get a grip on it.
We found gangs of young Turkish men left angry and restless by the antics of tourists.
One gang member, waiting with pals on a marina wall, said English men were to blame because they can’t handle their drink.
“They are idiots when they are drunk,” said Ahmet Esmer, 19. “They fall about shouting and looking for trouble.
“They ignore their girlfriends or are rude to other girls. Of course it will start trouble, what else do they expect.”
The alcohol fuelling the violence here is cheap. Shots of tequila are sold for less than £1, or girls can get them free in exchange for a kiss.
And there are plenty of takers.
Speaking in the shadow of the Eski Mosque’s imposing tower on the end of the party strip, Ferdy Hanroot, 34, said: “Of all the foreigners who come here, English girls are the worst.
“They drink until they don’t know what they are doing.”
For most of the young Brits, the days follow a predictable trend.
After a day in the sun revellers descend on the cobbled strip known as Bar Street.
They knock back lethal fishbowl cocktails priced at £4 for a litre of spirits or £1.50 vodka shots.
Then in conga-like processions they wander the street before hitting packed clubs such as the whitewashed Sugar Hut – the central hub of the night scene – and the beachfront Turtle bar or Talk of the Town.
But instead of turning in when the clubs close at dawn, many stagger past the mosque on to the beach to have sex or continue their drinking.
Brit Anthea 21, said: “I understand how people see partying outside the mosque as disrespectful, but it’s a tourist place.
“If they don’t want it as a tourist place, then don’t have it, you know what I mean?
“This is a place that’s probably going to end up as an 18-to-30s place, so what do they expect?”
Anthea blames Turkish men for causing the unrest.
She said: “They can come across as a little too friendly. I had a bad experience with a few guys.
“I was with my family and some guys went past on a bike and grabbed my boob. I was upset. The disrespect made me angry.”
While Turkish mosque worshippers rightly blast the degrading behaviour of tourists outside their temple, randy local men like to prey on tattooed, scantily-clad English girls they see as easy sex targets.
One expat said: “A lot of the girls crave the attention the young Turkish men give them.
“They tell them they are beautiful, and compliment them on how attractive their bodies are.
“Many will do this in front of the girl’s boyfriend. Most of the time the guy is scared but has to put up with it. Other young girls come looking for a man.”
Apart from alcohol, another source of resentment is money. Free-spending tourists at large in a country desperate for their cash.
Anhen Recen, 23, ekes out a meagre living working 18 hours a day waiting on tables.
He said: “The British can be disrespectful and this wouldn’t be allowed anywhere else.
“It is just here in Marmaris because they have money. We tell our families this is Ramadan, but is not Ramadan.
“Every day there is eating and alcohol. For Ramadan there is to be no alcohol.”
A local bar owner told us: “The British youngsters are rich. They think nothing of spending £200 on a night out. They will pay daft prices for vodka.”
The Muslim population in Marmaris began their month-long period of daylight fasting this week.
Meanwhile police at the resort are doing all they can to stem the violence – but say alcohol is proving their biggest problem.
“That’s what causes all this fighting,” warns Ali Galip Saral, the resort’s governor and head of the police.
“We have a population of 60,000 people here in the winter and then from May it swells to 500,000.
“It does cause a clash of cultures and with teenagers you have trouble when cheap alcohol is involved.
“A few weeks ago we had a British man almost beat a taxi driver to death because he wouldn’t pay the fare.
“We try hard to turn a blind eye to the smaller incidents because our jails are not big enough.
“We tell people they are not welcome back but we have a lot of fights breaking out with taxi drivers, beach boys and hotel staff.”
Speaking of the knife attack on Dwayne Ward, Mr Saral said he had felt personally responsible.
“I could not sleep,” he said. “I did all I could to help the family and catch the attackers.
“I had calls from the Prime Minister. We do not want this sort of thing.”
Attila Dincer, 26, who cleans cars near to where Dwayne was found, has been arrested in relation to the attack.
But the violence fails to put off many of the Brits here.
Hannah 21, from Leeds, said: “I never really thought of this as a holiday destination for young people.
“I always thought more of Ayia Napa or Magaluf, but I’m loving it. I’ve not got lucky out here.
“There are a lot of Turkish people and you don’t really want to go for the Turkish.
“The Turks in the restaurants are friendly, but you get a few dodgy ones.”
Her friend Emma, 21, a sports studies student, said: “We heard about the attacks out here but they happen all the time on our streets back home.
“The drink deals are pretty good. They do vodka and Red Bull for 10 Turkish lira (£3).”
The religious leaders in Marmaris fear the brainless exploits of Brits are ruining relations between the two countries.
Turkey’s booming tourist trade, fuelled by cut-price package deals, sees over
2.5 million people visit the country each year. Most are British.
Head Imam Hasan Essoz, 60, said: “Our message in Islam is to love everybody and to help them find their way.
“But that is the British culture and there is nothing we can do about it.
“If I came to England I wouldn’t be drinking or clubbing but that is what happens in your country.”
Marmaris has 37 mosques and 11 of the holiest sites are in the central district.
Imam Essoz added: “Everybody in the eyes of Islam is the same. We do not see it as Turkish or British, just as the person.
“You don’t have the right to attack anybody.”
But each day that dawns in Marmaris brings the sound of clashing cultures. And his words fall on deaf ears.