Officials deny claims that areas of Adrasan Bay destroyed by fire will open to construction
ANTALYAOfficials have denied claims that an area destroyed by a huge fire over the weekend near the Mediterranean resort town of Adrasan and its bay, which is surrounded by a national park, will be opened up to construction.
Around 125 hectares of forest were reduced to ashes during the fire, along with four hotels and one restaurant, leading to claims that the area had been earmarked for development.
Antalya Governor Sebahattin Öztürk, who visited the disaster area on July 1, brushed aside criticisms pointing to the lack of water valves near the forested zone.
“Such claims can spread after these kinds of incidents,” said Öztürk.
He also denied that the fire had lasted more than 16 hours, as initially reported, saying most of the forest was destroyed within 4-5 hours. “It could have been worse. The fire could have spread to the [nearby] national park,” Öztürk added.
Located inside an archaeological site and next to the national park, Adrasan is one of the few sites on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast that has escaped the construction boom that has blighted nearby sandy beaches.
With the government opening more and more coastal zones to the construction of hotel complexes and mass tourism, concerns have grown that Adrasan could share the same fate.
“The construction of new facilities in areas destroyed by the fire is out of question. Nothing can be constructed on this forest land,” Öztürk said, vowing that authorities will replant trees.
Officials say the fire was most likely ignited by embers from picnickers’ barbecues. However, locals have claimed that the fire erupted due to pieces of glass in garbage thrown in the forest, which can magnify and start fires on dry wood. Many have slammed the indifference of the authorities to a number of local businesses allegedly responsible for the practice.
The fire led to the evacuation of a number of hotels in the area, but touristic facilities have remained open despite the damage.