Boat flag issue about to be solved

Boat flag issue about to be solved

An important meeting was held at Istanbul’s Ataköy Marina on Aug. 25. It was a benchmark in the history of Turkish amateur seamanship. Among the participants were Faruk Okuyucu from the Chamber of Shipping, Cemalettin Selvi and Oktay Kılıç from the ministry and doyens of amateur shipping Tanıl Tuncel and Teoman Arsay. The topic was the flag issue that has been obstructing our navigation sector for years. 

As a matter of fact, the shipping world was awaiting that piece of news on the issue from the Turkish parliament two months ago. But the relevant clauses were excluded from the omnibus bill because a better and a more thorough solution was sought. Now, a new and essential preparation is underway. 

The first benchmark in the history of amateur shipping was in 2002 when the bureaucratic agony of completing a “transit log” document, which was obligatory for Turkish-flagged boats, was lifted.

Today, those who buy a boat and want to have a Turkish flag have to pay 27 percent of the purchase price as tax. This is an enormous figure. For this reason, the majority of boat owners prefer foreign flags.  

For this reason, amateur yachting, which is a very important income channel for Turkey’s tourism, is always in this debate. 

Because there is a stay limit for foreign-flagged boats, most boat owners prefer Greek marinas.  

The meeting at Ataköy Marina was important for the solution of this gangrened issue. 

The bullet points of the leading views are as such: 

As in the draft bill that was withdrawn, foreign-flagged boats belonging to Turkish citizens will be able to transfer to Turkish flags for one time only without any questions asked or tax. 

The Special Consumer Tax (ÖTV) or the Added Value Tax (KDV) will be lifted or decreased to symbolic figures for the boats important for amateur seamen. 

There will be facilitation introduced for imported second-hand boats also.  

For locally-produced boats, the tax levels will be lowered to symbolic levels. 

These are all suggestions but before anything else, for the government to hold such a meeting is really a benchmark for amateur navigation, including names such as Okuyucu, Arsay and Tuncel. 

I hope this opportunity is not missed.

Paradise bays  

Love for your country is indeed shown when you lose your life and become a martyr, but there is another thing at least as important as this. This love for your country is at the same time love for our seas, bays, trees and birds. 

It is respecting each other. But when I look around, I see that we are brutally ruining the most beautiful bays in the world, our bays. 

Whoever finds the opportunity somehow builds a wooden pier. Then they build a makeshift restaurant which has disgusting toilets. 

Hisarönü, Gökova, Göcek... Especially in Göcek, whoever wants it extends their pier as long as they wish. Each one will make an individual marina, you know. 

When you look at Manastır/Hamam Bay, an owner has extended a pier from his restaurant which almost occupies the entire shore. Who is giving these permits? Who is controlling them? Aren’t these public areas?

Is this the clean heritage of our country we will leave to future generations? 

We have not developed a control mechanism for our worldly paradise bays. They are subject to the arbitrariness of the local administration. 

My suggestion is that since there has now been a preparation for Turkish amateur navigation, the issue concerning our bays should also be brought to the parliament after a preparation process involving all political parties and civilian representatives. 

For a better, cleaner Turkey…