We keep hearing plunder over plunder
MELİS ALPHANThis is our story. The good people in the story are trying to save Antalya’s Phaselis, which has a natural and historic importance, from the plunder of the bad guys.
Phaselis is inside Olympos National Park, comprising a 10th of it; it is also a first-degree protected area.
Some guy from the authority is going to begin construction there, producing something with 280 rooms, three swimming pools, six tennis courts and a parking lot. It is not difficult to guess that it will be something that emulates the baroque style. The Forestry Ministry said “OK” to the appropriation for 49 years. Two judicial cases were initiated by nongovernmental organizations, citizens and chambers, including the Environmental Engineers’ Chamber. The first is to stop the execution and the annulment of that consent.
The second case is about the Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED) report. This project was also not subjected to a ÇED report, which has become routine in order to open the way to construction in our country.
The story seems illicit in all aspects. The process was again restarted. First the area was allocated, and then the company gathered the necessary documents and then plans for zoning were executed.
Although the law says that “no consent can be given before the plans for the development of national parks are determined,” the development plan in this case was prepared after the allocation.
This place is right behind the ancient city of Phaselis, which is protected by international conventions.
In 2012, its status as a historic site was widened and an additional 20,000 square meters was added as a protected site. Following the request to declare all of the area as a protected site, it was decided to re-evaluate its archeological characteristics. Just as the protection board was continuing its evaluations, they just go and hand it to their hotel buddies.
The amount of money for the allocation was asked many times; but there is no answer to it.
The law says it is only possible to allocate the state’s forests if there is public interest and necessity. If we were to ask about the necessity of constructing a hotel with swimming pool and tennis courts, the only answer would be “seeking to make a profit.”
You cannot construct a hotel in a forested area that has national park status. The law does not let you do that.
Right in the vicinity of a city from antiquity, they are attempting to construct a hotel violating the law and without even leaving a space for a passage, and they don’t even ask for a ÇED report. You can understand that via the flimsy project promotion dossier they gave to the Antalya Environment and Urban Planning Department.
There is no information as to how many trees will be cut down, no information about the damage that will be done to nature, or what kind of measures will be taken against the negative impact on the environment.
There is also no realistic information about the stage of construction.
The decision of the department that there is no need to have a ÇED report needs to be questioned.
The players and the decor change, but the story remains the same.
It is crystal clear that the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry is far away from coming up with solutions to the environmental regulations but rather works to facilitate those who are seeking to make profit through land speculation.
Each day, they are allocating the spaces that harbor natural, historic and cultural richness to private property, preventing people from accessing these places.
Projects that are slated for construction on historic and natural sites need to be stopped immediately.
Phaselis needs to be saved.