Hatching spot for sea turtles under risk due to makeshift gazebos
Makeshift gazebos set up by locals at Kumköy, a prominent beach known for being a significant hatching spot for loggerhead sea turtles in Turkey’s Mediterranean province of Antalya, has prompted anger among environmentalists and animal protection organizations as it is a protected area.
Kumköy, 21 kilometers away from Antalya’s Aksu district center, was declared a qualified natural protection area last year and is now facing an alarming situation threatening natural life due to the increasing number of gazebos set up by residents from the surrounding villages.
According to activists, the current state of the beach poses a danger to migratory birds and sea turtles that use it as a nesting area or shelter.
“I couldn’t recognize the beach I go to every year this time,” said Gökçe Coşkun, a bird and nature watcher who shares a photo of makeshift structures lined up on the hidden paradise on her social media account.
Underlining the density of garbage on the beach, Coşkun said that even the bird population might get affected due to human waste and pointed out that authorities should take necessary decisions regarding the region as soon as possible.
“Glass everywhere, plastic everywhere. A radical decision should be taken in this area as soon as possible. Otherwise, the natural life here will quickly disappear,” she said.
Local non-governmental organizations also agreed that the beach might soon disappear if attention was not paid quickly.
Ali Fuat Canbolat, the head of the Ecological Research Association (EKAD), stated that the photo shared by Coşkun summarizes everything, urging local authorities to take the issue into consideration as soon as possible.
In addition, Yeliz Gül Ege, the head of Antalya Promotion Foundation, said that although Antalya is called the tourism capital, it is not treated as such, and the photos shared highlight not only environmental concerns but also set a negative impression.
“Septic tanks flow into the sea from this area every tourist season. Nowhere in the world is such an image allowed. Local authorities should act as soon as possible,” Ege said.
Speaking to daily Hürriyet, Aksu Mayor Halil Şahin stated that the issue was being followed sensitively.
“Gazebos in that area has started to be dismantled by citizens. We will remove the ugly image there as soon as possible,” Şahin noted.
Locals in the region, where the temperature reaches 40 degrees Celsius during summers, set up gazebos every summer, as a tradition, and reside on the beach seasonally.
However, due to the pandemic, people from all over the country began to flock to the region and this interest turned the process into an understanding of building and renting gazebos.