‘Prevent concreting over beaches’

‘Prevent concreting over beaches’

Aysel Alp – ANKARA
‘Prevent concreting over beaches’

Changing the protected statuses of Turkey’s three sandy Mediterranean beaches - including the ancient Patara city - would open way to dense construction in the area, according to a report prepared for a court by experts.

A decree published in the Official Gazette on Jan. 9 says the legal protection coverage has been decreased for Fırnaz and Patara bays in the southern province of Antalya’s Kaş district and the Taşdibi Peninsula in Demre district, known as Santa Claus’ homeland.

The Chamber of Architects, the Chamber of Landscape Architects and the Kaş Tourism and Publicity Association applied to the Fourth Administrative Court in Antalya for reversal of the decree. The court asked seven experts to prepare a report on the situation around the mentioned areas.

Sandy, loose soil

Zoning these areas for construction could cause disasters in the future because the soil is sandy and loose, experts warned in a 153-page report dated Aug. 27.

“If the natural protected area status of these areas is removed, they will be concreted over rapidly and the natural life will be affected,” the report said.

“It is a historic urgency to reverse the decision because narrowing the protected areas would endanger the future of the excavation works in the ancient Patara city,” it added.

“We hope that Patara will continue to give us new historical structures. New inscriptions of the Roman era could be unearthed, and these could make a contribution to the historical knowledge to enlighten Anatolia’s Roman era history,” experts also said.

The capital of the Lycian Union of the ancient times, Patara has been undergoing excavations for 29 years.

However, the west side of the city has not seen any excavations so far. Many breeding farms and villas have been built illegally in that area, experts warned, calling on the authorities to stop illegal constructions.

Patara Beach - an important center of the Lycian civilization - is also an important nesting area for loggerhead turtles (known locally as “caretta carettas”) and provides excellent photographic opportunities at sunset.

According to data provided by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Antalya is home to 284 small and large historical ruins. The city’s only ancient site under UNESCO protection is Xanthos, located in the Kaş district’s Kınık neighborhood.