MP Mürsel Alban and Fethiye’s mayor, Alım Karaca, are expected to make a statement tomorrow on controversial applications for geothermal drilling sites along the coastline between Ölüdeniz and Gemiler.

Opponents fear proposals to sink six boreholes could destroy the environment and ruin the ecology of an important stretch of the Turquoise Coast for generations.

There are also concerns, if the project is allowed to proceed, the coastline will be vulnerable to “piggyback” applications for future development.

An online petition has been launched on the website Change.org, where it’s reported a licence and permission has already been granted for geothermal exploration.

Blue Lagoon

Two of the locations are said to be on the shores of the Blue Lagoon at Ölüdeniz, one within a First Degree Natural Site within the boundaries of the Kayaköy neighbourhood, another within an archaeological site near Gemiler and two more at Oyukbası Hill near Darboğaz.

The petition organiser, Fethiye Ecological Life Association (Fethiye Ecolojik Yaşam Derneği or FETDER) has expressed grave concerns over whether toxic chemicals will be used during geothermal exploration, as well as the potential for earth tremors and subsidence.

Should a more permanent geothermal plant be established, they also warn of an increased risk of CO2 emissions, water pollution and consequential environmental damage to plants and trees and even the local soil.

In posting the petition, FETDER also claims: “In addition, it is inevitable that construction sites will need to be established within the Special Environmental Protection Zone during the drilling stage and to open land and roads by chopping down trees to move drilling machines from site to site.

“This will also provide opportunities for the construction of new tourism sites in the regions where the wells are drilled.”

‘Stop this mistake’

They conclude: “We who live in the area want to keep this paradise for future generations. For this reason, we will not sit by and watch the destruction of this paradise which is designated a Special Environmental Protection Area, where each point is valuable and which attracts 1.5 million tourists every year.

“We call on all institutions and organisations and the Ministry of the Environment and Urbanisation to stop this mistake and to support everyone who agrees with us.”

Fethiye Times News – Week Ending 07 September 2019
Gemiler and St Nicholas Island. Picture by Steve Parsley.

However, today, a statement made from by the mayor’s office confirmed Mr Karaca will be joined by Mr Alban in addressing the issue tomorrow.

The statement reads: “We have received the news that permits and licences have been granted to open a total of six geothermal boreholes within the Delikliburun/ Gemiler Beach and in Oyukbası Hill near Darboğaz. At 11am, Mr Alaban and the mayor Alım Karaca will make a press statement on Bakiler Bay, Bakacak Hill.”