SinanAygül / DUVAR
The Agriculture and Forestry Ministry's directorate of natural conservation and national parks has hired a contractor to construct a concrete structure around Nemrut Crater Lake, which is world's second and Turkey's largest crater lake.
Scientists have been trying to get the UNESCO to bestow international geopark status on the famous lake, but Prof. Aydın Büyüksaraç indicated that their attempts will go futile should such a concrete structure is seen on the unique geography.
Prof. Büyüksaraç said that Turkish scientists have been working since 2016 for Nemrut Crater Lake to be recognized and accepted by UNESCO on the international geopark list.
“I do not know why there has been no progress with regards to the geopark status. When we ask them, they are saying 'We are working on it.' But no progress has been made in four years. And recently a construction has kicked off in the area. This place is a nature reserve, meaning it has been put under protection by the law for not even a single nail to be pounded. But now, a concrete structure is being built here, and it is overlooking the lake, this is unbelievable,” Prof. Büyüksaraç said.
“If there is a need for toilets, you can solve it with portable toilets. This is how you ensure the protection of the nature. If the toilets are built using concrete, then this place would no longer be a nature reserve, it would be a picnic area,” he said.
The Bitlis provincial representative of the Turkish Chamber of Civil Engineers (İMO) said that the project is not appropriate for the fabric of the area.
“It is true that there is a need for toilets and a recreational facility in Nemrut, but such a need cannot be realized with arbitrary structures on this natural wonder,” Cengiz Şahin said, adding that the relevant structure could have been built “with wooden or steel construction techniques.” “We do not know why such a technique has been preferred,” Şahin said.
Nemrut Crater Lake is one of the most important tourist destinations in Bitlis, with its hot and cold water crater lakes, ice caves, steam chimneys and bird species. The lake occupies a part of Nemrut Caldera with a 2,250-meter elevation and 13 square kilometre surface area.
The site was named as the winner of the 2010 Award of Excellence of the European Destinations of Excellence.