After years of planning the boat yard in Karagozler, Fethiye is to move to a new location outside Fethiye freeing up the valuable existing site for redevelopment.

Plans for the relocation of the Fethiye boat yard that began some 14 years ago in 1999 have now been given the green light by the Mugla Deputy of the AK Party.

The yard will now move to the Karaot Beach, Yaniklar.

The location of the new boat yard will provide area for expansion and protection of the $7 million generated by the yard for the local economy claim politicians.

However, the move is controversial.

Karaot (translates as ‘Black Grass’) Beach in Yanıklar is possibly the longest, and most accessible, stretch of undeveloped beach from Patara up to Izmir.

The villagers of Yanıklar held a protest against the proposed new boat yard and dry dock planned for the village beach back in October 2010.

Around 100 villagers held a protest on the beach on ‘Coastline Day’ to draw attention to their opposition to the proposed plans.

They said that Loggerhead turtles nest there; it is backed by a wetlands area around Akgöl, the lake which is a staging point for migratory birds, and the boatyard and dry dock would ruin all that natural beauty.

Akgöl near Yaniklar, Fethiye

The head of the Fethiye Boat Builders’ Cooperative, Bulent Taşan waded in to the argument, telling the local press that it was high time the Mayor made his decision and agreed to the boat builders’ move to Karaot.

“There are no loggerhead turtles nesting on that beach, it is not a site of scientific interest, it is not a wetlands nor is it a major resting point on bird migratory routes.”

Some of the villagers chained themselves together and all chanted slogans.

One local youth said:

“We don’t want a boatyard here. We inherited this land from our grandfathers, and we want to leave it in the same condition for our children. Everyone’s celebrating Coastline Day today but we are getting ready to grieve for the lost beauty of Yanıklar beach.”

It seems that the beauty of Yanıklar beach will now be lost forever and the boat yard will be its new feature.

Karaot Beach, Yaniklar Near Fethiye, Turkey