Environmentalists in Antalya reacted have fiercely against tree felling in a wooded area in the Kundu district, despite the cancelation of proposed plans to build a golf course in the area.
"The area is rich in water resources, flora, bird and other animal species as well as being the reproduction place of the caretta carettas that are facing extinction," said Hediye Gündüz, Antalya bureau chief of the Turkey Nature Protection Foundation, or TTKD.
"A wooded area of 1 million square meters was allocated to the company. They were planning to build a holiday village with villas and an 18-hole golf course in violation of the natural right of citizens to live in a healthy environment.
"Following a law suit by the Antalya Body of Lawyers, TTKD and the villagers of Kundu, the decision was canceled. However, the trees are still being cut down in the areas surrounded by the walls in the district. This is obviously a legal scandal. We expect the Environment and Forestry Ministry to say no to this practice", Gündüz also added.
Asking the question, "What is missing in this country, the law or a state?" Gündüz said that those responsible for felling the trees were but cutting the woods there are betraying not only Antalya but also this country and the future of humanity.
’We have to struggle again’
"We win a law suit. Then 8 or 9 years pass, and we have to struggle again for the same wooded area. Are we really the citizens of a country which is governed by democratic means? The importance of these covered areas is comprehensible even to the primary school children, but our Environment and Forestry Ministry is not aware of them, I guess", she said.
Highlighting that the environment and forestry minister should be behind us while we are trying to protect this area, Gündüz noted: "We call all the nongovernmental organizations in Antalya, political parties and Antalya residents to action. Let’s save this forest together, and let’s not allow them to turn this beauty into another Belek.
"Antalya is paying a high price in losing its natural beauty. How could a legal decision of cancellation not be taken into consideration by the government in a democratic country?"
Pointing out that they had never thought the felling would start again in the area, which is legally protected, Nurten Baykara, Antalya bureau chief of the TEMA Foundation, said: "We will do our best to stop this massacre, and will never allow this area to turn into Belek."