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10.06.2009

Construction in Ovacık causes stir

BY JANE TUNA

FETHİYE - Although the law stipulates that construction work on holiday resorts should be stopped from May 15 until October, the dust is still in the air in Fethiye’s Ovacık district. While the municipality denies any wrongdoing, locals are angry about the red dust in their pools.
Residents and tourists in Fethiye’s Ovacık district are fed up with having their beautiful valley spoilt by the dust and noise from building sites failing to halt construction over the summer, as required by law.

"We must have a plan for Ovacık" Ali Erişgen, the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, member of the Ölüdeniz municipal assembly and a hotel owner, said. "At the moment the whole place is in chaos. I will be prepared to support any move towards regulating building and infrastructure in the area but for now it is very frustrating."

Last month a local English Language newspaper, covering the Fethiye and Ölüdeniz area announced that a summer long ban on construction would start on May 15, lasting until the middle of October.

However, to date there has been no evidence of building work being halted and local residents are angry about having to refill their pools after red dust from tile cutting has blocked filters and made the pools unusable.

"We are fortunate by being up-wind from the majority of the building work," said Mr. Roy, who owns a house in the district. "But we came out to Turkey after May 15 to avoid the building work only to discover it is still going on."

Other residents have visited the Zabıta, the municipal patrol, on at least six occasions only to be told that there was no building despite producing photographic and video evidence to the contrary. "We have met tourists who want to visit the town just down the road with their young children but don’t because of the building site they have to cross to get there. Others have canceled their holidays altogether," one resident said.

’Embrrassment’
David Groom mentioned the "sadness and embarrassment" of British residents who have told friends to come here. "It isn't like other places in Europe, building work must stop once the tourist season starts, we told them, proud that Turkey shows such consideration to it's visitors, only to be red faced when our friends followed our recommendation and arrived to see and hear the reality," he said.

Ölüdeniz Mayor Keramettin Yılmaz, a member of the Republican people’s Party, or CHP, is also involved in tourism and the building industry and said that as far as he was concerned the work now being undertaken was not intrusive or disturbing nearby residents. But having not gone to the area he can only rely on word of the building companies and Zabıta.

Deniz Demirkol, General Manager of Infinity Express, a local design and Construction Company that is building two of the properties in question, feels that it is the responsibility of the municipality to ensure that the building ban is complied with. "We have permission given to us to carry on as these houses were bought off a plan by customers who want them finished quickly."

Local residents claim that no one involved has visited them to explain the situation or apologize for the ongoing construction.

The question that needs to be answered is whether Ovacık is a tourist area or not? At the moment the ban only applies to areas designated as such.