Antalya hotel begins ‘legal’ felling of trees to build golf course after loosening of restrictions
ANTALYA - Cihan News Agency
Over 500,000 trees were allegedly cut in 2007 to make way for golf courses, some of which now host some of Turkey’s most prestigious tournaments.A hotel in the southern tourist hotspot of Antalya has begun cutting a large number of trees to make way for a golf course, after legal changes that no longer require the acquisition of Environmental Assessment Reports (ÇED) for facilities such as malls or golf courses.
A golf course already exists on the site in Belek, but the hotel is seeking to expand the size of the links with the clear-cutting, which has resulted in the felling of pine trees that are thought to be 50-55 years old. Officials for the hotel said they had received permission to begin cutting trees from the Antalya Forest Directorate.
“We have to implement whatever the law states,” said an official at the Forestry Directorate. “In terms of procedure, there’s no problem [with the felling].”
Local residents who discovered the operations to cut down the trees informed the gendarmerie about the incident, only to learn that the hotel’s actions were legal.
According to changes published in the Official Gazette on Nov. 25, shopping centers, golf courses, mass housing projects, railways projects of 100 kilometers and under, facilities for painting appliances and salt quarries no longer need to acquire ÇEDs to continue with construction.
Once the site of a large forest, Belek was converted into a tourist center in the 1990s when many trees were cut down to clear land for hotels. Upward of 500,000 trees were allegedly cut in 2007 to make way for golf courses, some of which now host some of Turkey’s most prestigious tournaments.