Construction on Salda Lake beach sparks fury
Aysel Alp/Gülistan Alagöz - ISTANBUL
Construction works on the beach of a famous lake, which has been reputed as “Turkey’s Maldives” its white sand and clear water, have sparked public fury, prompting actin from the government.
The comapnyi, which undertook the construction of a public garden in Salda Lake in the southern province of Burdur’s Yeşilova district, used its heavy machinery on the beach, damaging the sand.
Legal complaints have been filed for the cancelation of both the tender and the development plans for the lake, one of the two places where oxygen-producing single-cell cyanobacteria still live in the world.
Tuncay Koç, one of the lawyers who filed the complaint on behalf of five citizens living in Yeşilova, said that a request for the cancelation of the tender was dismissed by the Council of State with a record pace.
Expressing that the firm used the ban imposed on the outbreak days to avoid public reaction, Koç said that entering into the area by trucks showed that the value of the lake was not appreciated by the firm.
“The company wants to take the advantage of the curfew, but the eyes of the public are on this area,” he told daily Hürriyet. “We have filed a criminal complaint against those responsible.”
The lake is closed to visitors due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said that the images of heavy vehicles on the lake’s beaches also bothered him.
“That image hurt me, just like it did everybody,” he told Hürriyet daily on April 14.
“We will not allow such mistakes while trying to protect our natural beauty and be so sensitive.”
The minister stated that all people and institutions that had a role in the scandal have been punished.
“We will work with the same meticulousness after all. No one should doubt that,” he added.
Noting that they will take a new step for the concerned NGO’s and citizens, Kurum said that all work done during the construction phase will be on record and those who wish can watch the construction works on the official website of the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ).
Meanwhile, TOKİ Chairman Ömer Bulut dismissed both the consultancy firm supervising the construction and the head of the relevant department, branch manager and expert.
The contractor firm has also been fined for not adhering to the standards set for the preservation of the lake, TOKİ said in a statement.
Speaking to Hürriyet, Bulut said that the firm did wrong and that it did not reflect the sensitivities to works despite the warnings.
“Now we will watch the site with a security camera for 24 hours,” he said.
“I will also share these images with the citizens. No one will see truck wheels and graders on the beach anymore.
“We will not allow soil movements before wooden structures and daily structures are finished. The color of the structures will be between white and gray and will be close to white so that it will be integrated with the lake,” he noted.
Lake Salda was declared first and second degree “Natural Protected Area” in 1989 and a “Special Environmental Protection Area” in 2019.