Spanish hunters stir debate in Turkey’s east
A group of Spaniards reported to be in Turkey’s eastern province of Tunceli to hunt mountain goats despite it being prohibited has caused discomfort and anger among locals, sparking a nationwide debate.
Activists and non-governmental organizations filed a criminal complaint with the prosecutor’s office in order to prevent visitors from hunting and leaving the city.
Munzur Conservation Board spokesperson Hasan Şen said that the group came from Spain and that they even visited the city’s Mazgirt district to hunt.
“We tried to explain to them that the mountain goats they want to hunt are important and sacred to us. They said they would show sensitivity. We don’t want sensitivity; we want them to give up on the idea of hunting altogether,” Şen noted, adding that a criminal complaint was filed regarding the issue.
Turkey’s diverse wildlife attracts hunters from around the globe, with hunting tourism filling the state’s coffers with more than 11.3 million liras ($819,000) last year.
The authorities occasionally launch tenders for hunting specific animals, claiming that hunting contributes to culling overpopulated species and preserving wildlife sustainability.
However, hunting endangered wild mountain goats was recently banned in Tunceli by local authorities following reactions from people as the animals are considered sacred by some communities.
Meanwhile, a total of 126,000 Turkish Liras ($9,100) worth of fines were given to two people who were determined to hunt wild goats in the Çemişgezek district.