Beautiful beach sites zoned for construction in Mediterranean’s Antalya
Aysel Alp - ISTANBUL
Three sandy Mediterranean beaches, including the ancient Patara Beach in Antalya’s south and castle land will be zoned for construction as their protected statuses have changed, the Official Gazette reported on Jan. 9.
With the redesignation of the legal protection coverage of the sites, even mining activities will be legal on Fırnaz and Patara bays in Kaş and the Taşdibi Peninsula in Demre, known as Santa Claus’ homeland.
The Alanya Castle area is also included in the lands that have now been zoned for villas, touristic facilities and even stone quarries.
According to the new map, the Alanya Castle has been separated into three areas, each with different statuses.
As the area that will be under strict protection will be decided upon the cabinet’s decision, land under natural protection and sustainable conservation have been redrawn.
Patara and Fırnaz beaches have also been redesigned, as the borders of their natural protection and sustainable conservation have been redrawn.
As in the case of the castle, the land that will be under strict protection is yet to be announced by the cabinet decision.
Unlike the beaches and the castle, however, Taşdibi was not given natural protection or sustainable conservation areas in the new design.
The controversial decision to reduce protected sites has already received criticism.
“No new protected sites. On top of that, the borders of archaeological sites have been diminished and will gradually be zoned for construction,” Eyüp Muhcu, the Turkish Architects’ Chamber head said.
“Uniquely beautiful havens of our country have been zoned for construction without undergoing scientific supervision. The government will choose the private companies that will construct mines and stone quarries there,” Muhcu said.
The decision, made upon the approval of Environment and Urbanization Minister Mehmet Özhaseki, will protect the sites even more firmly than before, according to authorities.
However, that is yet to be seen.
Recently, many reports have surfaced showing unique areas being zoned for construction in Turkey. Some have been canceled or suspended amid protests while some have materialized.
A tender held on Dec. 19, 2017 for construction projects in a natural park in the northwestern province of Bolu was recently cancelled after protests over environmental concerns.
A 30,000-square-meter green area by the sea in Istanbul’s coastal Büyükçekmece district, known as Albatros Park, was sold to two companies that bid through a joint venture in a tender on April 11, 2017.
Yet, the Antalya design is a unique case due to its historic and natural qualities.
Patara Beach—an important center of the Lycian civilization—is also an important nesting area for caretta carettas and provides excellent photographic opportunities at sunset.
The capital of the Lycian Union, Patara has been undergoing excavations for 29 years.
The ancient city still stands today, despite the numerous wars and incidents it has experienced throughout history.
According to data provided by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Antalya is home to 284 small and large historical ruins. The city’s only ancient site under UNESCO protection is Xanthos, located in the Kaş district’s Kınık neighborhood.