Huge swings on Ayder Plateau to be removed
RİZE – Demirören News Agency
The 1,350-meter-high plateau, lying in the foothills of the Kaçkar Mountains in Rize’s Çamlıhemşin district, was declared a tourism center in 1987 and a natural protected zone in 1998. In 2006, it was declared a “Culture and Tourism Protection Development Region” with a cabinet decision.
In recent years, the plateau’s green beauty has been attracting increasing numbers of tourists, including foreigners from Middle Eastern countries, causing grumbles about traffic congestion and risks posed to the natural environment by uncontrolled construction projects.
“We will not allow the huge swings in the festival area of the plateau, the area where people say ‘We cannot see the green ground because of the swings,’” said Rize Governor Kemal Çeber on Aug. 15.
“The expropriation process for the plain land will begin in a short while. Some citizens rightfully say: ‘It is my property and I make a living from these swings.’ As the state, we will pay their price and buy them,” he added.
Due to high demand, swings can continue serving in proper parts of the plateau in groups of two, three or four, Çeber also said.
The governor’s office has sent letters to the operators of the swings asking for their removal, according to Çeber.
Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum had issued an order to regulate swings following his visit to Ayder Plateau last month.
Nurcan Bulut, who has been visiting the area for many years, complained that the plateau has been losing its authenticity. “There are swings with artificial flowers everywhere. There are too many of them, one or two would be enough,” she said.
Another visitor Adem Kamber agreed with her, recalling that the Ayder Plateau has earned reputation with its nature and hot springs. “Swings have been an income channel for some people. They are in extreme numbers. There used to be spaces to play horon but now there isn’t any,” he said, referring to the traditional folk dance of the eastern Black Sea region.
“The smell of the nature has been replaced by smoke,” visitor Birkan Pabuççu said, pointing to the barbeque restaurants.
On the other hand, swing operators assert that domestic and foreign tourists enjoy riding on a swing.
“There is no other entertainment activity on Ayder Plateau. Visitors ride on swings happily. Of course, it would be better to serve more properly with a regulation. We have our own properties and registries,” said swing operator Faysal Okumuşoğlu.
In a move to protect the nature, the Rize Municipality and the Environment and Urbanization Ministry recently started demolishing illegal structures on the Fırtına Valley on the way to the Ayder Plateau recently.