Tender for privatization of İztuzu beach to be canceled, says Turkish environment minister
DHA PhotoA controversial tender made for the privatization of the facilities at İztuzu beach on the Mediterranean Sea will be canceled, Turkish Environment and Urban Planning Minister İdris Güllüce has said.
“I am going to cancel the İztuzu tender,” Güllüce wrote on his Twitter account on Jan. 29. “Here is our new decision: There will be no commercial activity, sunbed or umbrella on İztuzu beach.”
“We’ve gathered with academicians and journalists. We are going to entrust the caretta carettas [loggerhead sea turtles] to Muğla University. We will sign the necessary protocol,” he continued.
Facilities at the idyllic beach, renowned for being one of the most important breeding areas for loggerhead sea turtles, were controversially privatized despite locals’ opposition last June, but the operations were suspended by a court order over a lawsuit opened by activists.
Hours after the first stay of execution order was lifted on Dec. 28, 2014, officials from DALÇEV, the local company that won the tender with a bid worth 8 million Turkish Liras, entered the beach with construction machines around midnight, prompting a spontaneous rally.
In the meantime, a local court also ruled on Jan. 6 to suspend the deal in a separate lawsuit between the Governor’s Office and the Municipality, further complicating the judicial battle.
In his previous comments on the subject, Güllüce said his institution will not sacrifice the idyllic beach of İztuzu.
“We cannot sacrifice our turtles for a few sunbeds, a buffet, a restaurant and a place selling tea,” Güllüce said. “Due to the characteristics of the region, there should be no commercial facilities.”