Association asks UNESCO to protect 'Turkey's Maldives' from extensive state construction

The Lake Salda Protection Association petitioned UNESCO to dub the southwestern lake a 'natural heritage site,' the daily Birgün reported on March 1. An extraordinarily diverse ecosystem, the lake dubbed 'Turkey's Maldives' has been threatened by state construction over the past year.

Duvar English

The Lake Salda Protection Association petitioned UNESCO to dub Turkey's Maldives a "natural heritage site" in an attempt to protect the natural water source from construction by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the daily Birgün reported on March 1.

One of the most unique ecosystems in Turkey, Lake Salda has recently become the center of controversy as the AKP launched construction around the lake in a project that supposedly aims to protect the area, but in reality, is likely to be a cement construct.

The AKP has proven time and time again that their priorities lay with monetary gains and large construction projects rather than with protecting Turkey's natural resources.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself has signed some of the most horrific environmental destructions in recent Turkish history, namely Kanal Istanbul and the Kaz Mountains as well as mass deforestation across the country.

A unique landscape in terms of ecological diversity, Lake Salda also displays geological qualities that resemble those on Mars, the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said in a recent statement. 

There are still single-cell organisms breeding in the lake, which is essentially a recreation of the origins of life on our planet, the petition stated in an effort to highlight the lake's natural significance.

Home to a whopping 301 water and land species, Lake Salda is the sole habitat for two endemic species as well as host to 75 types of birds that are under protection by the international Bern Treaty, the petition noted.