'Towel Movement' spreads to Turkey with protest of beach privatization in İzmir’s Çeşme

Being inspired by the “Tovel Movement” in Greece, activists in the Turkish Aegean town Çeşme threw their towels on the shores of two “private” beaches in a move to demand full access to sea and beaches.

The activists hold banners reading "We've Protected, We will Protect," "The Seas are Free," "The Shores are Free and Public."

Duvar English

Activists in the Aegean province of İzmir’s Çeşme district on Aug. 12 threw their towels on the shores of two “private” beaches to protest privatization of beaches, the daily BirGün reported.

Being inspired by the “Tovel Movement” that started in Greek islands, Gücücek Bay Conservation Association; Güzelbahçe Culture, Environment and Beautification Association; İzmir Living Spaces; Çeşme Environmental Platform; Stop to the Peninsula Plundering Platform called on people to demand full access to beaches with the slogan of “We protect our beaches! Get your towel and come.”

In the protest that took place in Azmak Bay, located in the vacation town of Çeşme, the activists threw their towels on the shores of the “private” beaches called Bohemian Beach and Before Sunset.

Çeşme Environmental Platform head Ahmet Güler stated that the beaches and the sea are open to the public according to Article 46 of the Constitution, and that no one can close the beaches to the public, that they cannot take money by force as an entrance fee.

“Bohem Beach took over the beaches by destroying nature, changing the stream bed, cutting plants and trees, and partially confiscating the state's land. We've won two cases against this business and the court has ruled the closure of it, but this decision hasn't been implemented in two years,” Lawyer Seher Gacar said.