Mustafa Bakacak – MUĞLA
There are no spots to sunbathe free of charge in one of Turkey’s most famous resort towns, Fethiye, located in the southwestern province of Muğla.
The issue of cabin-tents for private rental on the beaches had previously come to the agenda when people could not find spots to sunbathe on Kumburnu beach in Ölüdeniz, one of the most famous coves in the world.
The coves where these cabin-tents are lined up are under the control of private businesses, thus when one wants to enter the beach they have to pay an entrance fee, in addition to renting a sunbed or cabin-tent.
Daily spending for swimming and sunbathing increases even more when people pay for a barbecue and food.
“There are beaches and sea all around, but there is no place to enter them for free,” the people have been complaining.
Nearly all of the beaches people can swim in on the Fethiye coastline are being run by private businesses.
Most of them have been rented for up to 10 years, thus leaving no public space for swimming or sunbathing.
The cabin-tents in Ölüdeniz’s Kumburnu were removed a day after daily Hürriyet reported the large number of them on Aug. 11.
The issue was also slammed by Fethiye Mayor Behçet Saatcı, who shared the report from his social media account and drew attention to the similar situation in the Küçük Samanlı, Büyük Samanlı and Kuleli coves in Boncuklu Yarımadası.
In order to enter the three aforementioned coves, one has to pay an entrance fee disguised as a “parking toll.”
The business owners, who rented the beaches until the end of 2023 with a tender carried out by the Fethiye Forestry Department three years ago, have been surpassing the ban on entrance fees by calling it a “parking toll” instead.
Authorities had previously said the place that went up for tender was open to the public and thus, no entrance fee could be taken.
It is also obligatory to rent sunbeds or cabin-tents inside the businesses. While people can benefit from the services of the business in Kumburnu after paying 7 Turkish Liras as an entrance fee, in Küçük Samanlı, Büyük Samanlı and Kuleli, people who want to see the beach without paying any money are only allowed to stay for 10 minutes.
At Küçük Samanlı beach, one has to pay 15 liras as a “parking lot fee” in order to enter. Sunbeds can be rented for 10 liras, whereas the prices of the cabin-tents range between 40 and 60 liras depending on their proximity to the sea.
People are not allowed to bring barbecues from outside, but they can rent one for 25 liras. Those who bring their meat from outside and want them to be cooked by the business pay 5 liras per kilogram.
While a similar practice is applied at Büyük Samanlı, Kuleli has a more luxurious appearance. This, in return, is reflected in the prices. Parking lot fees range between 15 and 40 liras depending on the type of the vehicle and the payments inside the beach are done with cards.
The minimum amount that can be uploaded on the card is 50 liras and unlike the other two beaches, people are not allowed to bring food from outside.
Fethiye Mayor Saatcı, meanwhile, said the issue of “unearned income” had come forward because of the beaches.
“If you rent these beaches to businesses in order to gain more money, you will not get service, but [the issue of] unearned income comes forward. These beautiful beaches are being destroyed, like in Küçük Samanlı, Büyük Samanlı and Kuleli. These values belong to the people living on this soil,” Saatcı wrote on his Facebook page.
“A fee should be taken, even though it would be a symbolic amount,” said Saatcı, speaking to daily Hürriyet separately.
“Leaving the beaches uncontrolled brings about environmental pollution. That is why we do not support them being left without control. Our criticism is against the ridiculous prices and the cabin-tents adjacent to the sea,” he said on Sept. 1.