The governor of the Southern province of Antalya stopped controversial construction works at the world famous Çıralı Beach yesterday.

Villagers have been protesting the rental process and construction works of the 18-acre land for the last 10 days.

Governor Ahmet Altıparmak said he decided to stop construction until the court gives a verdict. “If lawlessness is the matter in question here, then lawbreakers must be put on trial,” Altıparmak said.
Çıralı Beach is known for its logger-headed turtles, a species that is on the verge of extinction according to environmental organizations.

Villagers say the renting process was controversial and was opposed both by nongovernmental organizations and locals of the area.

A football team, called “Orman Sport Club,” signed a rental contract with the Antalya Regional General Directorate of Forestry to rent the land for 10 years by paying 5,000 Turkish Liras. On the same day the team handed the land tenure for 55,000 Turkish Liras to a hotel management firm.

This ambiguous situation forced the villagers to take steps against the deal, said Hediye Gündüz, the chairwoman of the Nature Conservation Association of Turkey. “This region hosts 18 different endemic plant species, 500-years-old pine trees and logger-headed turtles, which annually deposit their eggs here. What is going to happen now? The villagers are standing guard here 24-hours a day to hinder any harm to the environment. We are all waiting for the cancellation of the project,” Gündüz said.

Original article in Hurriyet daily news.