Friday, August 22, 2014 22:38 [Daily Archive]

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Government defends its Bodrum plan
ISTANBUL - The plan to turn Bodrum into a national tourism center is still in the works, but the government has no intention of opening Turkish shores to construction, said the culture and tourism minister.

Government defends its Bodrum plan Last month, the government declared the region on the Bodrum Peninsula that includes Yalıkavak, Gündoğan and Göltürkbükü districts an official tourism center. According to the law, the Culture and Tourism Ministry may take over the authority to prepare new building plans in the area.

The decision caused a stir among locals, who fear the shores will be allocated to tourism facilities. 
 
Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay declined to comment on the issue when contacted by the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review, but ministry officials sent an "information note" instead.

"Aydın Muğla Denizli Environment Regulation Plan was approved by the Environment and Forestry Ministry on April 27," the note stated. "Before the plan was approved, our ministry was asked to advise on the tourism centers and tourism development areas located within the borders of the region. The plan is still being analyzed by our ministry."

Tourism Ministry officials also sent Günay’s earlier comments. "The tourism center in northern Bodrum is for now just a declaration," he said on June 5, Environment Day. "No buildings destroying the shores or damaging historical remains will be allowed during my term, or after me."

Günay said that thorough planning is needed for the proper use of the land. "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," he said.

Deputies ask for nationwide plans

The overdevelopment in Bodrum, best seen in two photographs, one taken in 1965 and one in 2009, which were printed in yesterday’s Daily News, has also been protested by Parliament’s Environment Committee members and Muğla deputies.

"To prevent such scenes, the local administrations should prepare long-term plans," Mustafa Öztürk of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and deputy chairman of Parliament’s Environment Commission told the Daily News. "The situation is the same in not only Bodrum but everywhere throughout the Aegean and the Mediterranean. The government should take responsibility in areas like shores and forests."

Öztürk said it was important not to promise licenses for unregistered buildings during election campaigns.

Bursa deputy Kemal Demirel, a member of Parliament’s Environment Commission and main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, said a national plan highlighting the environment should be prepared. "Bodrum’s latest situation proves that Turkey has never had a serious plan for its shores," he said. "All the parties should come together to prepare a national environmental plan, and it should be realized immediately. We must have planned urbanization. Rehabilitation policies should be applied gradually to save our resources."

Two Muğla deputies from different opposition parties agree that an emergency plan should be prepared to save Bodrum. While Metin Ergun of the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, said all parties should act quickly despite the fact that "the town is beyond the point of returning to the old days," Gürol Ergin of the CHP said those with the power did not put forth enough effort to save the beauties of the places they administer.

New platform

"The way to save Bodrum is by creating a platform that will bring together all the municipalities in the Bodrum Peninsula," he said. "The platform should prepare and realize a special plan both on buildings and infrastructure."


Vercihan Ziflioğlu from the Hürriyet Daily News Istanbul office and Göksel Bozkurt from the Daily News Parliament Bureau contributed to this report.
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