Occupying company evacuates Turkey's idyllic İztuzu Beach
MUĞLA – Doğan News Agency
AA photoA local company illegally occupying the idyllic İztuzu Beach on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast – a safe haven for loggerhead turtles where they lay their eggs - has finally been forced to evacuate the area under the supervision of law enforcement officials.
DALÇEV, the local company which claimed entitlement to operate the beach after it won a controversial tender organized by the Muğla Governor’s Office to privatize the area, evacuated a buffet inside the beach facilities on May 31. The process was supervised by gendarmerie officials.
Two generators and construction equipment, which had been transported to İztuzu despite a letter from the Environment Ministry addressed to the local governor’s office demanding an evacuation of the beach, were also loaded onto a ferry and taken to the storehouse of the Dalyan Fishery Cooperative (DALKO).
Speaking to reporters, Mehmet Ayhan, an advisor to the president of Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University, which has been entrusted with operating the beach’s facilities as part of a protocol with the Environment Ministry, said the beach would now be handed over to the university.
“We appealed to the governor’s office and the governor’s office ordered for the beach to be evacuated and handed over to the provincial Directorate of Environment and Urban Planning. The Environment Ministry will now hand it over to us,” Ayhan said.
DALÇEV, however, continues to insist that the evacuation order is “against the law,” vowing to file a complaint against both the governor and the Directorate of Environment and Urban Planning.
“We are being kicked out with the unlawful order of the governor’s office,” said DALÇEV chair Ramazan Oruç.
According to a three-year protocol between the ministry and Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University signed on May 23, 2015, the latter will be in charge of operating the beach’s facilities, protecting it from environmental damage and conducting studies on its biological diversity.
Despite this protocol, DALÇEV forcefully returned to the beach on May 10 and took over some of its facilities. The company claimed it was legally entitled to run the facilities due to a previous Supreme Court of Appeals decision.
The ministry, legally entitled to decide on who will operate the facilities, rapidly intervened in favor of the university, addressing a letter to the local governor’s office demanding the evacuation of the beach.
Days later a local court also ruled in favor of the university, demanding the evacuation of the beach by DALÇEV.