Islanders oppose settlement plan on isolated Gökçeada Yıldızkoy

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CANAKKALE

Islanders react strongly to decision that paves the way for construction in Yıldızkoy [Star Bay], a secluded bay located within the boundaries of Turkey’s largest island of Gökçeada (Imbros) Underwater National Park.

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The “Balıkesir-Çanakkale Landscaping Plan” 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 DoÄŸan Perinçek told the daily Milliyet.

As a refuge for endangered Mediterranean monk seals and many endemic species, Yıldızkoy is considered “one of the most biodiverse bays”.

“The plan will sever the link between the islanders and the sea after it takes effect,” said Alev Karayel, director of the Gökçeada Volunteers Society.

“We are talking about a land of 288 decares. Think about the locations on it. They will harm the environment, ”she said while pledging not to remain silent in the face of selfish interests spreading over the island’s natural wonder.

Perinçek also stressed the danger of increasing the risk of an earthquake on the island once settlements start to thrive in Yıldızkoy. “The soil on the island rises with the floor exercises. A settlement plan is being considered at a time of seismic risk, ”he noted.

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The surprising thing is that Ünal Çetin, 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: “Yıldızkoy will be a shooting star.”

One of the opponents of the plan is Bünyamin Nami Toka, the head of the Çanakkale Nature Society Federation.

“Yıldızkoy is like an aquarium. The whole configuration of nature will be damaged, ”he stressed.

The Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TÃœDAV) also showed its aversion to the plan in a written statement.

“This 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, ”he said.

gokceada, imbros,

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