Planned construction in national park in Turkey’s Bolu draws criticism

Planned construction in national park in Turkey’s Bolu draws criticism

Aysel Alp – ANKARA
Planned construction in national park in Turkey’s Bolu draws criticism

A mansion and some 25 bungalows are set to be built in the Gölcük National Park, one of the symbols of the northwestern province of Bolu, drawing criticism from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Bolu Mayor Alaaddin Yılmaz, however, claimed that no trees would be cut down for the upcoming construction.

“The project has been prepared after meticulous and long-lasting works. We should not ruin nature. We are sensitive regarding the issue. The locations of the bungalows have been determined one by one so that no trees would be cut down. Barbecuing will not be allowed around the lake and the surrounding environment,” Yılmaz told daily Hürriyet.

Lake Golcük is one of the most scenic sights in the northwestern region of Turkey. Only 16 kilometers from the city of Bolu, Lake Gölcük is the perfect spot for picnics, nature walks and cool breezes. Land surrounding the lake protects a unique environment replete with many birds, animals and various types of plants.

Haluk Pekşen, CHP deputy for the northeastern province of Trabzon, called on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stop the construction plans at the Gölcük National Park.

“Today, members and adherents of the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] cannot defend what is being done at the Uzungöl, Ayder, and Çamburnu national parks. Only a month ago the president said, ‘We have polluted Ayder, we have wrecked it.’ Dear president, if you have wrecked those areas, then stop the massacre in Bolu’s Gölcük,” Pekşen said.

“Trabzon once used to have a Scots pine forest, which is very unique and now only existing in Italy, in the Çamburnu National Park. They opened it for construction with legal promises that no trees would be cut down. But that’s how they wiped out the world’s most precious Scots pine forest. If they [the AKP] want to see what kind of a result there would be in Bolu’s Gölcük [national park], they should look at Çamburnu,” the CHP deputy said.

Pekşan said authorities had built a three-floor concrete building with eight rooms covered with wood on the outside in the Çamburnu national park, which has “now fully turned into a holiday resort.” But, he said, the initial promise was that only bungalows would be constructed. “The same will be done in Bolu. The Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry has opened the national park to construction,” he said.

The planned mansion in the Gölcük National Park will consist of 19 rooms, resembling a boutique hotel, according to information received from the Bolu Municipality. The building will be built “suitable for nature” without any trees being cut down, near a cafe, currently sitting next to the lake, the municipality told daily Hürriyet.

Meanwhile, the Bolu Municipality, which has been operating the Gölcük National Park under a 49-year-long lease agreement signed with the Forestry Ministry, will be put out to tender on Dec. 19 to transfer the park’s remaining operating license to a private enterprise. Accordingly, the planned mansion, 25 bungalows, and the existing lake cafe will be operated by a private enterprise - instead of the Bolu municipality, as is the case now - until the end of 2040.