Main opposition, ruling party mayors join forces to block urbanization on Aegean islands
ISTANBULThe mayors of the Aegean province of Balıkesir and its district Ayvalık have joined forces to object to an urbanization project that is underway in 19 islands on the Aegean Sea, daily Hürriyet has reported.
The mayor of Balıkesir, Ahmet Edip Uğur, from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Rahmi Gençer, the mayor of Ayvalık from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), will collaborate to halt the process which they believe would damage the district.
Uğur has said the case would be brought to the municipal council’s agenda, vowing that he would object to the urbanization plans and stand with the Ayvalık Municipality, which voted overwhelmingly against the project on Feb. 16.
The environment ministry is expected to consult the Balıkesir Municipality on the urbanization of some 72 protected areas including Pateriça, Hakkıbey Peninsula, Çiçek Island and some parts of the Alibey Island.
Municipality officials have met with Uğur and Gençer to discuss the issue.
Uğur, who spoke ahead of the meeting, said they were concerned about Ayvalık, stressing that their future plans for the district was to make it a “world brand.”
He said they would reject the ministry’s demand to put the islands through urbanization, noting that they stood ardently in support of the district’s municipality to stand against it.
Uğur said they would deliver reports on the area to be sent to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after a constitutional referendum set to take place on April 16.
Gençer thanked Uğur for his support and said the decision was a historic one for Ayvalık.