Five models on way for idyllic Ayder Plateau in Black Sea region
RİZE – Doğan News AgencyFive firms commissioned with preparing a layout for the transformation of the Ayder Plateau in the Çamlıhemşin district of the Black Sea province of Rize will each offer a model to the authorities, with a two-story limit imposed by the government for development in the idyllic area.
The authorities will narrow the offers down from five to two, from which the framework of construction will be developed.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned on Aug. 7 at a conference in nearby Rize about any construction damaging the plateau, one of Turkey’s top tourism centers.
“The current Ayder cannot be our representative. The Ayder that God gave us is different [from its current situation]. We have dirtied and wrecked Ayder,” Erdoğan said.
He added that he had spoken about the issue with Çamlıhemşin Mayor Osman Haşimoğlu, who agreed with him on the need to carry out work to improve Ayder’s situation.
“We’ll especially focus on these [areas] as the state. We will make Ayder befit its dignity. We also today spoke with our Interior Minister [Süleyman Soylu] about Uzungöl [a unique crater lake in the Black Sea region]. We need to undertake the same transformation at Uzungöl as well. These places are areas of [tourist] attraction and I believe that once we carry out these [transformations] the number of tourists visiting will increase more,” Erdoğan said.
The Ayder Plateau lies in the foothills of the Kaçkar Mountains in the Black Sea region and attracts thousands of tourists every year due to its natural beauty. The government says a “Regional Transformation and Development Project” in the plateau, initiated by the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ), will be undertaken prevent “unlicensed construction” in the area.
The plateau was initially declared a tourism center in 1987 and was declared a natural protected zone in 1998. It was later declared a “Culture and Tourism Protection Development Region” in 2006 with a cabinet decision.
After the building of hundreds of structures in the area, 260 out of 290 constructions were taken to court in 2014, with the court ruling for the demolition of 158 of them for lacking a license. However, the demolitions did not take place as no firms participated in the tender for the demolition.
Upon the order of President Erdoğan, TOKİ got involved in the issue, kicking off a preliminary qualification tender for the regional transformation projects upon consultation with residents of the area.
Five companies bid in the tender and the authorities are currently examining these bids.
Çamlıhemşin Mayor Haşimoğlu previously described the plateau as a “tourism locomotive” of the region, saying that “without the Ayder Plateau there would be no tourism in the region.”
“Vertical and multi-story structures will not be constructed. Horizontal buildings will be made. The houses will be one-story, hotels and guesthouses will consist of a basement, a ground floor, and an additional two floors. With the new Ayder model, the plateau will be given a healthy structure,” Haşimoğlu added.