Environment Ministry gives green light to build hydroelectric plant in national park
ANTALYA - Doğan News Agency
The local 'Olympos' saffron (in the picture) could disappear after the completion of the hydroelectric power plant, experts say. DHA photoThe Environment Ministry has given the green light to the construction of a hydroelectric power plant (HES) in the Beydağları National Park. Located near the Mediterranean resort town of Kemer in the coastal province of Antalya, the park contains dozens of endemic plants.
The power plant is planned to be constructed on the Kesme Boğazı gorge that flows in a deep valley in the park, which is an important attraction for tourists as wall as nature-lovers.
Following the ministry's approval, the environmental impact assessments (ÇED) will be debated on July 24 with locals in Kemer.
However, a group of experts from the consulting firm Doğa K said in a report that the project could cause irreparable damage in the area. The firm warned that the power plant's construction would lead to the extinction of 111 species of plants, including 32 endemic plants such as the local "Olympos" saffron and Kemer's very own orchids.
The construction of a number of hydroelectric power plants in small and medium sized rivers in mostly untouched regions has caused much debate in Turkey. The government defends the projects by arguing that they boost employment, but many experts say the long-term environmental costs far outweigh any economic benefit.