The Turkish Tourism and Culture Ministry is turning the western Bodrum Peninsula into an official tourism site.
The peninsula, located not far from the city of Izmir, will not be turned into a “concrete jungle” the ministry head, Ertuğrul Günay assured concerned residents. Known for its natural beauty, Gunay went on to say “some think that there will be buildings on these areas. I’m completely against creating concrete jungles.
“I don’t like to see concrete buildings when watching the land from the sea.”
Turkey has become a major tourist location in recent years, particularly its southern coast, where resorts in cities like Antalya have become extensively commercialized with lavish resorts, five star hotels and casinos to cater to millions of foreign tourists who are looking for elegant, yet budget priced holiday packages.
Mr. Gunay was quick to make his comments during the country’s June 5th Environment Day commemoration, and said that “no buildings destroying the shores or damaging historical remains will be constructed during or after my term as minister.”
Despite Mr. Gunay’s remarks, however, the Bodrum Peninsula has already been affected by overbuilding, as was shown by comparing two aerial photographs, one taken in 1965, and the other in 2009. Mustafa Öztürk of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, noted that the problem of overbuilding “is the same not only in the Bodrum area but everywhere throughout the Aegean and Mediterranean.”
He added that the government must take responsibility in areas containing seashores and forests.
Another politician, Kemal Demirel, a member of Turkey’s Environment Commission, commented that “Bodrum’s latest situation proves that Turkey has never had a serious plan for its shores.”
Turkey has a very long marine coastline, with only its eastern border with Russia, Armenia, and Iran, and part of its southern borders with Syria and Iraq being land locked.
Local residents in the Bodrum Peninsula fear that their city and surrounding areas will become “another Antalya.”
“The town (Bodrum) is beyond the point of returning to the old days,” Gürol Ergin of the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) said.
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