Turkish ‘Slow City’ faces construction controversy
DHA PhotoTurkey’s International Slow City Association (Cittaslow) member Akyaka town has become center of yet another town planning controversy when sudden privatization put the natural beauty zone at danger of construction.
Prime Ministry’s Privatization Directorate has previous dismiised reports that claimed eight stories high buildings were parts of the construction plan, assuring residents that the planned buildings only be two stories high over the natural beauty zone, which has been under UNESCO radar for protection of cultural heritage, as well as biological diversity, according to Doğan News Agency.
Akyaka has been previously placed under natural preservation authorities, until a recent change in law transferred the land over to the Prime Ministry’s Privatization Directorate, allowing for a speedy urban planning project to target the internationally known town.
The local groups and environmentalists were however less than impressed with the directorate statement, calling for the halting of plans for the preservation of the unique natural beauties of Akyaka, and its olive groves, which would otherwise be destroyed.
According to daily Hürriyet, the locals were largely left out of the ongoing proceedings, and due to a lack of informing, missed out the deadline for placing objections. The Directorate also skipped consulting any urban planning chamber or natural preservation authorities.
The local groups have gathered in protest of the plans, wishing to preserve the olive groves and keeping construction out of their town. A local platform has also demanded a change in the current planning and construction regulations, calling for the inclusion of local residents in the legal and planning processes.
Akyaka’s tourist facilities include 2,200 hotel beds and a tent camping area suitable for 400 people. Most visitors find their way to Akyaka for the Nail Çakırhan House and Azmak Stream, which is a great location for scuba diving. The area also boasts a natural park with archeological sites. Akyaka also hosts day visitors from cities like Aydın and Denizli. Day visitors generally go to Akbük, the kite surfing area and Azmak Beach.