Müzeyyen Yüce/ DUVAR

An Ankara court has rejected a motion filed by locals seeking to cancel the tender for a zoning project in Salda Lake, a lush area in the western Anatolian province of Burdur known as the “Maldives of Turkey.”

Five residents of Burdur’s Yeşilova district fought the tender in a local court, but the case was moved to an Ankara administrative court on the grounds that the previous court did not have the authority to rule on the matter. Ankara’s 16th administrative court ruled that the approval of the tender was not in violation of any legislation, thereby rejecting the residents’ motion to cancel it. 

In its defense, the Ministry of Urban Planning and Environment said that it was not required to obtain an environmental impact report in order to hold the tender, and that since the area was designated as a first-degree protected area, the project in question would not allow for the concretization of the area. 

The residents have said that they will appeal the decision in the Supreme Court. Earlier this year, first lady Emine Erdoğan visited the lake, commenting on the beauty of the area and expressing her interest in the establishment of facilities including showers, small restaurants and a parking lot. Erdoğan was photographed admiring a pelican on the shores of the lake. 

Though declared a protected area by a presidential decree earlier this year, area residents are concerned that the zoning plan for Salda Lake will threaten the natural character of the area.