Turkey's Environment Ministry fully backs privatization of protected İztuzu beach
Activist opposing İztuzu's privatization shared this picture, showing writing in the sand reading 'take your hands off us,' under the hashtag #Direnİztuzu (Resist İztuzu).Turkey’s Environment Ministry has given its full backing to the privatization of the protected Mediterranean beach of İztuzu, known as one of the most important breeding grounds for loggerhead turtles (caretta caretta), as protests against the move entered their second week.
While confirming that the rights to run the facilities at the beach were now owned by DALÇEV, a local company with a British partner that won the bid with 8 million Turkish Liras, the ministry sought to assure detractors that no construction - already banned under the “protected status” clause - would be allowed at the site.
“Payment will only be asked for on services provided for daily visitors’ needs (such as parking, snacks, parasol and beach chair rental) and no fees will be demanded for entrance or use of the area. İztuzu will remain open for the use of the public, as it always has been,” the ministry said in a statement released on Jan. 5.
The ministry said the company exercised its right to take over the facility after an order of a stay of execution for the privatization was lifted, despite a separate but similar order that was issued by a local court in the meantime.
Officials from the company prompted a spontaneous, occupy-style protest when they came around midnight on Dec. 29 with construction machines.
Many local activists argue that the privatization of the facilities at the beach will be a death sentence for one of the few remaining untouched coastal areas in the region.
Meanwhile, many artists and other celebrities expressed support for the protesters who have been camping at the entrance of the beach since New Year’s Eve. Actor Altan Erkekli, historian and writer Pelin Batu, movie director Özcan Alper and TV presenter and writer Yekta Kopan have all appeared in videos urging the cancelation of the privatization.