Turkey’s Salt Lake sanctuary for birds
Salt Lake, Turkey’s second largest lake in central Anatolia which is home to many flamingos, should be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, according to Mustafa Doğan, a local head of the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
“The lake is being affected by climate change, which is taking over the world. It is important to move Salt Lake from the temporary list to the UNESCO World Heritage Permanent List in order to make it well known and get it protected,” he said.
Salt Lake’s protected area is within the borders of three provinces, Ankara, Konya, and Aksaray.
Located some 150 kilometers from the capital Ankara, the lake spans an area of 1,665 square kilometers and is one of the largest hypersaline lakes in the world. The lake was accepted into the UNESCO tentative list in 2013.
Doğan said the lake was particularly important for flamingos.
“Home to the largest flamingo colonies among the Mediterranean countries, the Salt Lake welcomes tens of thousands of flamingos every year. Particularly in Aksaray’s Eskil district, thousands of flamingos are incubating. There is also an owl colony in the Salt Lake Special Natural Protection Field. The lake is a spot for accommodation for migratory birds,” he added.
He said different endemic plants and animals could also be found around the lake.
The lake has become an important tourism value in Turkey in recent years, he said. “It has become a part of Cappadocia tours. It is possible to get involved in activities like hiking, running, bird observations and photo safari in the lake,” he added.
Doğan said the lake has recently been drawing many visitors due to its touristic characteristics.
“There has been a serious interest in the lake in recent years. Tourists visiting the Cappadocia region also visit Salt Lake and walk on the salt or in the lake. The lake also draws interest of producers due to its blue color in the winters and white in the summers. Many films, TV series and music videos were shot in the lake in recent years,” he said.
After its ice-blue hue during the winter, the lake changes color in the summer to a mixture of red and white due to a type of algae called dunaliella salina.
“Lake Tuz is one of the most important salt production areas of our country and the world. Salt is being exported to several countries because the lake’s salt is of high-quality,” Doğan added.