Islanders react strongly to decision that paves the way for construction in YÄ±ldÄ±zkoy [Star Bay], a secluded bay located within the boundaries of Turkey’s largest island of GÃ¶kÃ§eada (Imbros) Underwater National Park.
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The âBalÄ±kesir-Ãanakkale Landscaping Planâ ratified by the city council on October 4 allows settlements to be built on the bay.
“It will be a serious mistake to open the bay for the construction of settlements,” geological engineer DoÄan PerinÃ§ek told the daily Milliyet.
As a refuge for endangered Mediterranean monk seals and many endemic species, YÄ±ldÄ±zkoy is considered “one of the most biodiverse bays”.
âThe plan will sever the link between the islanders and the sea after it takes effect,â said Alev Karayel, director of the GÃ¶kÃ§eada Volunteers Society.
âWe are talking about a land of 288 decares. Think about the locations on it. They will harm the environment, âshe said while pledging not to remain silent in the face of selfish interests spreading over the island’s natural wonder.
PerinÃ§ek also stressed the danger of increasing the risk of an earthquake on the island once settlements start to thrive in YÄ±ldÄ±zkoy. âThe soil on the island rises with the floor exercises. A settlement plan is being considered at a time of seismic risk, âhe noted.
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The surprising thing is that Ãnal Ãetin, the mayor of the island who faces severe criticism from the islanders, said the decision was made by the previous administration.
“The plan was announced by the Ministry of the Environment in 2015. But the knives are out for the municipality,” he told the daily.
Local opposition representatives call the plan a “betrayal of nature”, while islanders play on the name of the bay, saying: “YÄ±ldÄ±zkoy will be a shooting star.”
One of the opponents of the plan is BÃ¼nyamin Nami Toka, the head of the Ãanakkale Nature Society Federation.
âYÄ±ldÄ±zkoy is like an aquarium. The whole configuration of nature will be damaged, âhe stressed.
The Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TÃDAV) also showed its aversion to the plan in a written statement.
âThis decision threatens the underwater park on which we have worked, maintained and expanded. It is an area where rare species live. We will follow the plan closely, âhe said.