Malcolm Robin Gray and Charles Bentley, on behalf of concerned Dalyan residents and visitors from the UK, we appeal to your sense of responsibility. Iztuzu is a unique beach beloved by many of your countrypeople. Please do not turn Iztuzu into a commercial commodity that will both downgrade its uniqueness and the turtles' habitat. Our request is straightforward:
Withdraw from this privatisation venture, whose legality is highly questionable, is against public will and puts Iztuzu's protection at risk.
Taken by surprise, the Dalyan community and local council were informed on 11 June 2014 that the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation and the Muğla Governorship had decided to privatise award winning Iztuzu (Turtle) Beach. The lucky winner of a "telephone tender" was DALÇEV, established only 2 days before. The majority shareholders Malcolm Robin Gray and Charles Bentley, partners in UK-registered Dalyan Villa Owners Ltd, are British businessmen. The three Turkish shareholders are partners in Dalyan-basedOruç Construction and Travel.
Local, regional and national NGO's and Iztuzu lovers are afraid privatisation will affect this untouched gem on the Turkish coastline. They want the beach facilities at Europe's Best Open Green Space, 2008 to be managed by the municipality. Thus ensuring revenues are spent on Iztuzu's conservation as has been the case for the past 15 years, resulting in winning the Best Open Space of Europe award 2008, two Best Beach of Europe awards, 2011 and 2013.
Iztuzu is a natural, untouched beach, which draws visitors who relish the environment and lack of beach entertainment. This is in comparison with other "developed" beaches along the Turkish coastline. Local residents and NGO's are convinced that privatisation will put commercial considerations over conservation, thus seriously damaging this unique, protected area. The core business of the Turkish shareholders is construction and tourism, adding to concern that conservation will not be DALÇEV's priority. Local NGO's submitted a statement to the state, saying NO to privatisation.
The petition Save İztuzu from Privatisation! has collected over 65,000 online signatures with another 10,000 written.
On 29 December 2014 shortly before midnight, DALÇEV broke through the beach barrier, even though the Ortaca Civil Court had ordered a temporary injunction on the protocol granting DALÇEV beach management. They threatened the guard and broke the padlock securing the barrier between 20:00 and 8:00. A 15-men crew, headed by DALÇEV's President Ramazan Oruç entered the beach by car. The intention was to drive to the other end, but they got stuck. This is the company entrusted with the management of a 1st category Nature Conservation site and prime turtle nesting beach? There are regulations restricting accessibility and vehicle use! Fortunately the guard notified local residents, who were able to block access to a digger and two tractors with generators. God knows what would have happened if the digger had entered the beach ...
In the night of 29/30 December supporters of the Save Iztuzu Platform started a 24/7 watch. It was not until 6 January that the Muğla Governance finally officially informed DALÇEV of the Ortaca court's ruling. One day after the Save Iztuzu Platform was informed of this, they stopped their 24/7 watch, which had then lasted for 10 days. The recognition of the temporary injunction has restored normal life at Iztuzu, but the race has not been run yet.
Mr. Gray and Mr. Bentley, you know what has happened and you know how one of your business partners has responded after the peaceful vigil had come to an end. You cannot ignore recent events that have left the Dalyan community in shock.
Now YOU can make a difference and change things for the better!
You are both successful businessmen, who have a reputation to lose.
There are many profitable alternatives for this venture; there's no alternative for Iztuzu once it's spoilt!
Posted: 5 January 2015 (Updated: 14 April 2015)