A "blue cruise" near the Marmaris coast. Photo by Sarp Koknar via flickr.
There's trouble in paradise, at least the part of it around the popular vacation town of Marmaris, on Turkey's western Mediterranean coast. Long struggling to keep development in check, residents have had up to here with new plans to expand the area's port and mining operations. A local environmental organization recently issued an SOS: "That’s enough. Do not let Marmaris fade away."
The group, known as the Environment Volunteers, cited nine issues of concern in the region, where, despite rapid urbanization, people still come in droves to enjoy the large natural harbor and outdoor sports activities.
Illegal construction in the quickly growing town is among the threats, as are rural jeep tours that opponents say pollute the air, damage forest roads, and cause accidents.
But the two biggest flash-points are the granting of mining concessions and the proposed port expansion. Magnesium mining was suspended back in April over concerns that it would impact the area's honey production and olive orchards, but the decision was later reversed. A so-called "Special Forestation Project" allows non-forest acreage--just over half of the region--to be individually leased. Forty-one mining firms are currently conducting exploratory work in those areas.
Meanwhile, a plan to extend the port of Marmaris to accommodate additional cruise ships would create more pollution, environmentalists say, and discourage smaller-scale yacht tourism, a major source of income in the area. Via: "Marmaris needs immediate action," Hürriyet Daily News
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