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THE COASTAL POLICY IN TURKEY

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Introduction

THE COASTAL POLICY IN TURKEY Coastal areas have become very important in view of human beings since the beginning of time. They are the most important and intensely used areas settled by humans in the world. Thus, coastal resources have been under intensive pressure through out history and this situation will continue. The demands to coastal areas that have fertile potential are increasing; tourism and industrial investments cause destruction that will never recycle. Therefore, controlling coastal areas has got hard recently. And developing coastal management policies and strategies have become important issues to prevent the harmful effects of these changes. In this essay the organisation and management of the coastal policy in Turkey are evaluated by examining current situation and identifying problems resulted from inconsistencies in the coastal regulations. "Turkey is located between Europe and Asia, serves as a bridge between three continents and is surrounded on three sides by seas with substantially different characteristics" (Geray 1996:35). Environmental conditions such as the climate, topography and the characteristics of habitation vary in the coastal regions of Turkey, so each coastal region requires different management approaches. Turkey's extensive marine waters are under pressure from heavy domestic maritime traffic; the very significant transit traffic in the Turkish Straits and marine pollution from land based sources. Turkey is rich in natural and historical assets that have made tourism one of the fastest growing sectors since the 1980's. In addition, as a result of legislative and institutional arrangements designed to encourage tourism investment various investors prefer these areas. So, this rapid tourism investment and development have been one of the main causes of coastal and near-shore degradation and environmental problems in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Marmara Seas. ...read more.

Middle

The shore strip must have a minimum width of 100 metres, starting from the shore edge line. In the first 50 metres of the shore strip, no building is allowed, apart from those that are exempt due to a coastal location being required and having planning permission. This area must be planned and used for public access and recreational purposes. In the remaining 50 metres (or more) roads, recreational and tourism facilities (other than hotels) open for public access and public waste treatment plants are allowed subject to planning permits (Gozubuyuk 1999). But in areas with variable topography such a rigid distance line is environmentally meaningless and may complicate sustainable management of the hydrology of coastal zones by cutting across naturally functioning systems. Moreover, many municipalities have a very lenient attitude to exemptions if it will promote local economic development. For instance; The Konyaalti-Antalya coastal area is an important tourism area but recently has experienced a large number of conflicting land-use activities. Adjacent to the shore, there is a large gravel and rock quarry, petrol storage and filling installation, a main highway running along the coast, a ferrochromium and cement storage area, a free trade zone and sea port, a planned waste water treatment plan and many high rise buildings for both residential and tourism use. Despite the fact that there is a 100-meter setback line, planning permission is still being granted for further building just a few metres from the shore. Similarly, permission has also been granted for the construction of an ugly multi-story hotel on the Antalya coastal area. This permission is provided by the Ministry of Tourism who designated the area as a 'tourism area' according to the Tourism Incentive Law of 1982, amended in 1993. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, legal regulations change very rapidly and this prevents the consistent management of coastal areas. There is another set of problems about public participation. Because legal mechanisms with regard to public participation and access to information are not sufficient. Legal arrangements provide limited possibility to the public to participate in few areas and hence, the planning, implementation and evaluation of policies and projects are less effective and more costly in Turkey (Sesli 2003). For the reasons mentioned above; the main aims of the Turkish coastal policy should be to redefine planning hierarchies, responsibilities and authorities to integrate an ecological perspective into planning practises and to strengthen planning instruments by amending the Land Use and Development Law. The Coastal Law should be amended and this amendment should take into account topographic conditions, natural resources and cover all integrated coastal zone management issues. Also, a coast fund that is consisted of penalties and taxes taken from the services in the coastal areas can be established. Finally, there should be some innovations in the organisation to provide better services and make the management more effective. In this regard, besides a ministry, which is responsible for all the activities concerning coastal areas, regional administration units should be established. In addition, information technologies such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS) and Internet for analyzing and querying functions related to coastal areas must be used (Alkis 1997:25). With the helping of these technologies; the necessary information can be provided to use these areas for the public benefit and also to make the future-planning and decision-making better. Thanks to these reforms and careful development plans that will be made by Turkish governments, in the future Turkey can solve its coastal area problems and get more effective and successful management and organisation in the coastal policy sector than now. Word count: 2900 words, 26 paragraphs, and 266 lines. ...read more.

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