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Ancient Ports Still Blocking Marina

Aug 21, 2008
Ancient ports are continuing to be a stumbling block for a 12 million marina scheme at Kucukerenkoy.

The 543-berth, 47-villa Port Cyprium project has already been rejected by the Supreme Monuments Council twice-in 2005 and 2006.

Despite a revision of the marina scheme and government pledges it would go ahead, the Supreme Monuments Council is still against it.

There are two historic port sites, believed to date back to about 400BC, at Moulos, near to the proposed marina, which also included plans for a 20- bed clubhouse.

Fuat Azimli, director of the Department of Ancient Monuments, said: "Moulos is an archaeologically protected area. It contains ancient ports to its east and west. This project has been presented twice. The first time it overlapped with the protected area. It was then presented for a second time with some alterations. That time it overlapped with the ancient port and thus it was not given the go-ahead."

Mr Azimli confirmed the Council of Ministers had leased the area to Altan Huseyin for 49 years at the end of 2007 to allow him to build the marina, but stressed there were still issues about its impact on the historic sites. This week, Transportation and Public Works Minister Salih Usar told a local television channel that he supported the project and wanted to see work starting. But the scheme for North Cyprus's second marina is still stalled.

Mr Huseyin said he had been working on the project since 1999 and had returned to North Cyprus from Azerbaijan four years ago to realise his dream. He said that Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer had also promised the scheme would get approval.

He said he knew about the historic Moulos sites, but claimed a report drawn up by the Department of Ancient Monuments indicated there were no artifacts in the area in which the marina would be built.

Mr Huseyin said there were around 22 marinas on the southern coast of Turkey and most of them were near historic and archaeological sites.

"The South is constructing new marinas with large capacities. This is what our country needs because the hotel's are going through a difficult phase due to the lack of tourists. Thus, the government should place more importance in the construction of marinas rather than increasing bed capacity," said Mr Huseyin.

Environmentalist Mike Haigh called for the project to be revised again so it meets the guidelines of the Department of Ancient Monuments.

He criticized the government decision to lease the land to Mr Huseyin ahead of any permission being given for work to start.

"The government should involve the stakeholders when giving decisions on project which are likely to have an impact on the environment," he said.

The first marina is still being built at Yeni Erenkoy, despite major concerns from environmentalists who fear that it will adversely impact the Mediterranean monk seal populations in North Cyprus.

The government sees marina tourism as a key plank in moves to win visitors.
About the Author
Linda Cartwright is an expert on the regions of Northern Cyprus. She writes extensively for http://www.meridieshomes.com
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