Number of blue-flagged beaches rises in Turkey
Gaye Kobal – ISTANBUL
Turkey continues to rank third in the list of “countries with the most blue-flagged beaches” this year, with the number of blue-flagged beaches increasing from 519 to 531 currently.
Like in 2021, Spain topped the ranking, while Greece was runner-up this year. Italy and France followed Turkey in the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
The Blue Flag is a certification given by the Copenhagen-based not-for-profit non-governmental organization, Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). A blue flag is awarded to a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator that meets its environmental standards.
Besides beaches, some 24 marinas, five yachts and 15 recreational crafts were also awarded blue flags.
According to the list, in the Black Sea region, some beaches in the provinces of Samsun, Ordu, Bartın, Düzce, Adapazarı and Kırklareli were awarded blue flags.
The provinces having shorelines along the Marmara Sea with beaches awarded blue flags are Istanbul, İzmit, Çanakkale, Balıkesir and Bursa.
İzmir, Aydın and Muğla are the three provinces in the Aegean region, and Antalya and Mersin are the two provinces in the Mediterranean region with blue-flagged beaches.
The cleanliness of Mollakasım beach on Lake Van also earned a blue flag in the eastern province of Van, which is along the Iranian border.
Antalya topped the list of blue-flagged beaches in Turkey with 229, with 18 of them entering the list for the first time. The southern province was followed by Muğla with 111 and İzmir with 66 beaches.
Then came Aydın (36), Balıkesir (31), Samsun (13), Çanakkale (12), Mersin (11), İzmit (7) and Bartın (3) in the top-10 list.
Kırklareli, Istanbul, Adapazarı, Düzce and Ordu followed with two beaches each. Bursa entered the list this year with one beach, standing with Van at the bottom of the list.
The northwestern province of Yalova was one of two provinces to lose this year, being out for losing the blue flag of its one beach. The northwestern province of Tekirdağ had the harshest blow, losing all six blue flags in a year.
“We had minor losses, but a blue flag may be gained again if the criteria are fulfilled - even during the summer season,” said Almıla Kından Cebbari, the national blue flag program coordinator in the Turkish Environmental Education Foundation (TÜRÇEV).
When asked about the criteria, Cebbari listed the five most important out of many.
“Seawater samples should be taken every fortnight and analyzed, the samples and the results should be within the health criteria, the natural surroundings must be protected, the site must have an emergency rescue plan and there must be lifeguards and be disabled-friendly.”
FEE consists of 65 organizations in 60 member countries.