Representatives of 23 non-governmental organizations met with local governments in Ayvalık on the Aegean cost to prevent the destruction of the local natural park. The zoning plan of the natural park was revised in order to allow construction in designated protection areas.
The Platform for Protection of the Ayvalık Islands Natural Park is joined by environmental organizations and two local governments. In a press release issued on Wednesday (27 January), the Platform urged the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to drop the revision of the plan. The plan was originally worked out six years ago in 2004. The platform claimed that the basic principles of the plan for the protection of the natural park have been changed after the revision by exposing the park to the danger of construction.
The plan defines three different categories: "areas of absolute protection" marked in green, "areas of limited protection" shown in yellow and brown "areas of controlled protection". It covers an area of 17,950 hectares including forest, regions with epidemic flora, habitat of wildlife and areas with sand dunes and rock vegetation. The revision abolishes the status of absolute protection from the islands and a part of Cunda island.
The Platform criticizes the following points:
* The plan was prepared in favour of the land owned by people with big capital but it was designed to the disadvantage of owners of a small piece of land and producers.
* Public areas have been excluded almost entirely from the areas of absolute protection. These areas are next to areas of owners of a large estate who bought a lot of land in recent years. The way is being paved for construction in these areas.
* The military zone to be established in the natural park is located almost entirely on private land.
Moreover, the Platform emphasized that neither local governments, nor NGS nor specialized organizations were consulted for the revised plan.
The following organizations are members of the Platform:
The Ayvalık Municipality, the Küçükköy Municipality, ADD, AYÇEP, AYKUŞ, AYOP, the Ayvalık Association for Environmental Protection, the Ayvalık Democracy Platform, ÇYDD, Sea Workers Association, the Chamber of Shipping, GÜMÇED, HALKEVİ, the Karagöz Arts House, the Bay Nature Sports Group, KÜKAP, the Küçükköy and Sarmısaklı Human and Life Association, the Chamber of Architects, the Papalina newspaper, the Patriça Association, the Patriça Island Boats Cooperative, the Pir Sultan Adal Association, the Fisheries Cooperative, TEMA (Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats) and TEMAD. (EÜ/VK)