Istanbul, March 27 () - A number of forested bays in one of Turkey’s most beautiful coastal idylls will be opened to tender by the Forestry and Waterworks Ministry, though many locals are opposed to the move and claim it will allow rapid “concretization” as is the case elsewhere in the country.
The tender will allow four bays in the Aegean district of Dalaman - the Bedri Rahmi (Taşyaka), the Akbük, the Göbün and the Küçük Sarsala (little Sarsala) - to be rented out at exorbitant prices for 29 years.
A total of 10 bids were presented at the tender for the Bedri Rahmi and Akbük bays, and there was no local bidder. Around 200 local residents protested outside the building where the tender was taking place in Dalaman, chanting slogans and blocking the road in front of the building for about 10 minutes. The police then arrived at the scene to reopen the road to traffic.
According to the tender announcement released on the website of the Dalaman Forest Sub-District Directorate, the Bedri Rahmi bay contains 1.93 hectares of forest, while the Küçük Sarsala bay contains 1.18 hectares of forest, the Göbün bay contains 1.14 hectares of forest, and the Akbük bay contains 1.04 hectares of forest.
The prices for renting the bays ranged between 80,000 and 120,000 Turkish Liras.
Dalaman Mayor Muhammet Şaşmaz, a member of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), said that when the Muğla province was transformed into a metropolitan municipality, authority for the bays, which was previously held by the provincial special administration, was given to the Forestry Ministry.
“There are about 20 businesses in these bays, all of which are owned by Dalaman residents. They were serving yachts from these businesses … But the Forest Sub-District Directorate is now marketing these bays under the name of ‘recreation area’” Şaşmaz said, adding that the local managers of the current businesses in the bays could not afford the tender bid prices.
A group of around 250 locals protested the tenders on March 25 in central Dalaman, claiming that the new regulation would harm the environment and pave the way for construction on the bays.
CHP Dalaman District Women’s Branch Head Süreyya Berberoğlu, speaking on behalf of the protesters, said the new regulation would also lead to the felling of many olive trees, while artifacts from the Lycian era in the area would likely be damaged.
She also said the new regulation did not mention any piers and this brought the possibility of opening the bays to construction and even to personal use.
Göcek is located in one of western Turkey’s most remote areas, mostly inaccessible to highways. This has made the area a particularly popular venue for yachts.
“The closest and more realistic probability is that international yachting people, who are currently fans of Göcek, will henceforth choose Greece rather than Turkey” Berberoğlu added.
Responding to questions about the plans, Forestry and Waterworks Minister Veysel Eroğlu said that forests should not only serve wildlife, but also people. “These areas are not only for wildlife but also for our people. There should be race tracks, recreational areas, which do not harm the forest but on the contrary it.”
Meanwhile, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Mehmet Erdoğan has tabled a parliamentary question for Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to answer, suggesting that the tenders in Dalaman had been prepared without considering the public interest.