Buket Uzuner the well known and respected Turkish writer, author and explorer led the charge to close the Kaş dolphin facility at a well attended protest rally in Kaş on Monday 8th April.

A petition set up by Uzuner on change.org Turkey gathered more than twenty thousand signatures and was presented to the Mayor of Kaş Abdullah Gültekin at an early morning meeting on the day of the protest.

At the meeting with Buket Uzuner, organisers of the protest rally and members of change.org and the Mayor of Kaş it was confirmed that the dolphin facility would not, for the second year running be granted a license to open to the public.

When presenting the petition Uzuner said that her aim was to have all the dolphin parks in Turkey closed, and she wanted to free the Kaş dolphins as the first step to freeing them all. Uzuner went on to say “dolphins, which have played an important part in our culture, deserve to live free like any other living creatures. I believe Kaş will be the pioneer to stop this commercial captivity in Turkey, as it has been stopped in many other countries in the world”.

However the owners of the dolphin facility are not taking the refusal to grant them a license lying down and have taken out a law suit against Kaş Municipality. The local NGO’s who work together under the umbrella organisation Kaş Çevre Platformu (Kaş Environment Platform) and Yunuslar Özgürlük Platformu (Freedom for Dolphins Platform) joint organisers of the 8th April protest will actively support the Kaş Municipality position and work with the lawyer acting on the Municipality’s behalf to keep the dolphin facility closed.

Buket Uzuner also had a meeting with the District Governor Selami Kapankaya. Uzuner has demanded that dolphins are medically checked by a dolphin specialist veterinarian. Her demand is prompted by concerns for the dolphin’s health; these two dolphins have languished for the past eighteen months behind the rusty metal fencing of the small enclosure of the dolphin facility.

Later at the public protest rally attended by many local people and foreigners from the surrounding towns of Kalkan and Fethiye as well as Kaş, Buket Uzuner spoke passionately about freedom not just for captive dolphins but for all creatures and indeed all people. In her statement, Uzuner said “we want 8th April to be known as the day of freedom for all the living creatures including dolphins”. Popular actor Uğur Polat also supported the cause with his participation and stated that he supported the demand to close the dolphin park immediately.

Uzuner’s commitment to freedom for dolphins and her work to gather the signatures on the petition presented to the Mayor of Kaş was well received and appreciated by both the Mayor of Kaş and those attending the protest rally who believe it will influence the decision to close the unwanted dolphin facility in Kaş and in time all dolphin facilities in Turkey.

You can visit change.org/yunuslar for more info about the petition.

You can view the visuals here: http://we.tl/wpI76iWOxL

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