Duvar English

Turkey’s Environment and Urbanization Ministry will ban swimming in western Burdur’s Salda Lake, often dubbed the “Turkish Maldives” for its white sand, as the area has been the site of ongoing construction for a “people’s garden,” stirring nationwide controversy over the lake’s protection.

“We banned mud baths in the lake. We made it a no-smoke zone, so smoking, grilling and fires are forbidden,” Minister Murat Kurum told Anadolu Agency on Sept. 17.

Noting that the ministry has been receiving a notable amount of petitions concerning the lake’s protection, an overall swimming ban might be implemented in the lake’s White Islands region, Kurum added.

“We will ban [swimming] in White Islands and maintain safe access to the lake on the public beach,” Kurum said.

A concrete terrace will be built to overlook the lake, the minister added, where visitors will be able to eat and drink.