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    A SEASIDE VIEW: Waterfall in Turgut Village ’under siege’

    by Sedat Kirt
    21.04.2009 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme: 20.04.2009 - 18:13

    MARMARIS - Residents and authorities in Turgut Village in Marmaris have been discussing the future of the waterfall that is biggest source of income. But, it is not the waterfall that is up for discussion, it is the road leading up to the tourist attraction that has everyone in a tizzy.

    The waterfall, the village’s largest form of tourism, was open to visits in the late 1980s. Being in the middle of liquid amber trees and exuding peacefulness, the small waterfall, or just a creek for some people, has gained fame in and out of Turkey. Visitors have always been surprised to see such a different "oasis" by the edge of the extremely hot Mediterranean coast. Swimming in the small but refreshing water of Turgut Waterfall has been one of the most remarkable moments of many tourists’ holidays.

    The individual visits to the waterfall increased in time and eventually grabbed the attention of travel agencies. Many agencies have started special excursions to the village. The small waterfall has become a major income point, not only for the village autonomy, but also for the whole area. For example, last year each visitor paid 1 Turkish Lira for entrance to the waterfall, which nearly 1,000 people visit every day during the summer season.

    As interest in the waterfall rose, an unexpected "sharing" problem appeared last year. The unknown owner of the 300-meter stabilized road to the waterfall asked the village autonomy to pay for the use of the road. Village headman Naci İşler’s rejection of his request led 26-year-old villager Adem Kaya to a very interesting decision. He accumulated rocks and stones on the road, which passes through his own land, to stop the tour buses and safari jeeps from driving to the waterfall. It was enough to cut the tourist flow to the most important source of income of Turgut Village.

    İşler then applied to the current Marmaris Governor Cemalettin Özdemir, who ordered the road open using his personal initiative because of the public purposes. The barrier was moved and visitors now have access to the small natural beauty.

    Adem Kaya and his father did not give up their struggle against to the village autonomy and went to the court. The case was ruled in favor of the Kaya family. The family sent the court decision to İşler, giving him time to find another solution before the rush tourist season starts.

    Now, both İşler and the travel agencies, who are about to lose a very important source of income, are worrying about the situation. Considering the travel agencies have the flexibility to move their tour programs to many other points around Marmaris, the village authority is the most worried about the situation.

    If İşler and the Kaya Family cannot resolve the issue, the Forest Administration will build a new road to the waterfall. Although the local forest authorities think the new 600 meter road from the main road to the waterfall can be opened in one week, the approval stamp of the project is in Ankara. The long procedures of the Ankara bureaucracy may cause a big loss for the Turgut Village in Marmaris. And, when the "dragging attitude" of the central government against opponent areas is clear, the people who live on the waterfall income, and Turgut Village, which expects public investments upon the same income, are pessimistic before this summer’s tourism season.


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