'Burası Türkiye!' 'This is Turkey!'

Scumbags!

I’ve been called a few things in my time – time spent as a soldier and then as one of Her Majesty’s prison officers tends to have that result! Yesterday J, who was a teacher so she’s used to being called names as well, and I decided it was well past time to acquire another one. So we headed off for Dalyan’s İztuzu Beach with Fethiye friend Chrissy who, I’m sure, has never been called a bad name in her life! We were going to support the group Save Iztuzu Dalyan fighting to save the beach on their ‘open day’.

protesters arrive at Iztuzu beach dalyan

getting there any way they can

Iztuzu Beach dalyan

Iztuzu beach protest Dalyan

J signs attendance register for the day number 3081 and a long queue behind waiting (and Chrissy from Fethiye)

The world famous beach has been under threat from various ‘projects’ of late, the latest of which would have done more than plonk a rather inappropriate turtle-shaped extension to the much valued sea turtle research and rehabilitation centre on a site overlooking the beach.  In a very questionable ‘tendering’ process the running of the beach and its facilities were to be privatised and handed to an entity called DALÇEV that wasn’t even in existence until two days after it won the ‘tender’. How amazing is that!

Anyway, once the word got out the s^*t hit the fan! Locals, many of whom have cut their environmental protection teeth on other hugely successful campaigns such as the defence of Yuvarlakçay, swung into action. So much has been learnt in the last few years by the small local team that guides this local movement of local activists protecting their local environment and local interests that it is hard not to believe that they can ‘do it again’. That would be a mistake, especially now that so much is micro-managed in Ankara. As someone once said, in a very different context, ‘The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!’ or words to that effect. Turning your back on the ‘money-grubbers’ and their facilitators in offices far away, even for a moment, can be catastrophic in any battle by the people, against those who seek to take what is, or should be, ours by right.

iztuzu Beach Dalyantwo of my great mates from the media reporting for DHA (c and r)

Speaking of ‘money-grubbers’ reminds me that a few days ago one of the partners of the company that didn’t exist when it won the non-competitive, sorted over a glass of tea, tender Tweeted his opinion of the protesters who had camped out through the freezing weather to try and prevent any further breeches of court orders by the company that didn’t exist when it won the . . (suck in a deep breath!) He described them as, and I quote, ‘Yavşaklar’ – that’s Scumbags in plain English! This from people who turned up at the beach barrier at midnight, threatened the municipal guardian, cut the padlock and drove three vehicles, rally-style, onto a protected beach, before action by locals forced the intervention of the jandarma and the courts to reinstate the status quo.

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oruc1

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scenes from the ‘rally’ on Iztuzu by the ‘responsible’ developers

So, what does ‘status quo’ mean for the campaign? It means that the company that didn’t exist when it won the dubious tender has to wait the outcome of the court ruling about the legality of the tendering process. Meanwhile the protesters agreed to withdraw their 24 hour ‘guard’, the jandarma were able to go back to barracks and the beach has been reopened to the public. Make no mistake, the locals are not blinking. There will be an alarm system in place, just like Yuvarlakçay, to thwart any further midnight raids. For now the legal process holds sway, but should it go against the will of the locals then watch out for fireworks because civil court actions by the locals’ beach protection platform against individuals and various bureaucrats will swing into top gear.

Anyway, back to this ‘Scumbags’ thing; J and I have been absent from the local protest scene for a while – there are various personal and other reasons for that. However, when some arse calls people I know and respect ‘Yavşaklar’ because they happen to believe that the beach is not for private profit and exploitation, then it was time to stand with them.

ju suis Scumbag!Je Suis Scumbag!

I hope it doesn’t come to it, because I hope they win this fight by a knock-out in this round, if not, I guess you’ll see this Scumbag huddled round the braziers at midnight listening to another Scumbag playing the saz and mourning his lost love – and that’s a promise!

manning the barricades Iztuzu Beach dalyanScumbags mourning their lost love(life) – it’s cold!

To keep up with what’s going on with the beach and to give support to those who are fighting to protect this globally renowned asset and Turkey’s first Specially Protected Area ‘friend’ them on Facebook and sign and share their petitions – here and here you may not be able to be here in person but you can be here in spirit. There are more of us than they think!

The photos are from many sources, I hope they will not be too angry that I’ve not credited them individually. Thanks to each of you.

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

Incredible Okçular!

Valder-ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha

We love to go a-wandering, along the mountain track – although we tend not to sing, J and I do enjoy a good wander. Especially when, as yesterday, we find a new forestry track that opens up new vistas and new areas to scrabble about in.

I’m not planning to write much, just show you a little of what delighted us – apart from anything else, when we wandered off along a goat path, we found a super little place that only a bee-keeper seems to visit and we’re not telling any of you where it is!

the view to Çal Dağ

Iztuzu Beach and the Dalyan Delta

. . with a bit of zoom thrown in

local workplaces are a hive of activity

mountain meadow – a little oasis

. . a splash of colour on the track to somewhere – Anemone coronaria Crown Anemone

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

Stuff

Bill Stickers Will Be Prosecuted!

Archers is an ‘Ad-Free Zone’! There would be no posts, or posters, about this restaurant or that hotel no matter how good they might be. Any stray thoughts of a bit of ‘fly-posting’ would be ruthlessly hunted down and stomped upon. Company policy – no exceptions and all that stuff. And then yesterday happened!

J and I had wandered down to Dalyan’s İztuzu Beach for a late swim – the sun was dipping, the crowds were dispersing, the air was cooler and the sea very comfortable. Not being frequent visitors it was a chance to catch up with the latest in beach fashion from burqini to bikini to old men in ‘silly trouser fairy’ middies! This world famous beach has amazing views wherever you look!

sunset İztuzu Beach, Dalyan

Anyway, feeling suitably mellow we took ourselves up to one of our favourite out-of-the-way watering holes in the tiny village of Kışlar (in reality a mahalle of Gökbel) just a few short kilometres from the beach. Called ‘Sunset Restaurant’ it lives up to its name as long as you are there at the right time. The setting is stunning, especially as the sun sinks behind the mountains.

sunset at the Sunset

The ‘Sunset’ is an unpretentiously simple place with limited tables that is owned and run by Bekir and his Georgian wife. The beer is cold, the food is splendid and the setting . . well, we’ve already covered that! Their menu is limited and doesn’t vary – in fact, you could write it on the back of a matchbox or business card – which is exactly what Bekir has done! Everything is prepared to order so don’t expect ‘Ronald MacDonald’ fast food service – have another drink and chill! These guys know how to do what they do and they do it very well.

economy of scale – card and menu combo

I wouldn’t dream of promoting one dish over another, suffice to say that if I don’t get my Haçapuri (a sort of light, fluffy bread stuffed with egg and cheese recipe from Georgia) and Biber Köftesi (long, green peppers coated in Köfte (meat with spices) and grilled) I’m going to feel very deprived!

Haçapuri – a quick photo before it’s all gone

As I said, Archers is not here to advertise any business enterprise no matter how good; if you want to try the ‘Sunset’ you’ll have to do your own detective work to find it. Either that, or check the details on the card/menu photo (just don’t waste your time on the websites they went down long ago).

Oh, and by the way – Bill Stickers never dun it. ‘onest, Guv!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

ps bowing to outrageous pressure from the Fethiye mafia @ Turkey’s For Life here’s a map to help you find the place:

View Sunset Restaurant Near Dalyan in a larger map