Turkey clamps down on illegal waterfront property
An investigation by the Ministry of Environment and City Planning (MECP), launched after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s August visit to Bodrum, found a large number of construction projects in the area to be illegal.
Erdogan visited the Bodrum coast at the beginning of last month for a working holiday and reacted with shock at the amount of waterfront development. “This much unjustness is not acceptable. Development has almost expanded into the sea. There is not even a coastline. Housing will be in the sea in the next step if this continues.” Erdogan told the Daily Hürriyet.
Following the visit, the MECP dispatched four inspectors to investigate construction around Bodrum. The inspectors’ findings were shocking. Sixty per cent of all construction projects in Bodrum were found to be illegally built, including many luxury hotels and entertainment facilities.
The owners have been issued with demolition orders and if they do not comply the properties will be given notice and then destroyed.
Most of the buildings were granted permission in the last two years, and the majority of the buildings violate the 100 metre limit to the sea, in addition to coast and zoning laws. Most of them have also been built in government protected areas.
Erdogan said that the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will join forces to inspect the whole coastline. “It is not understandable how the local municipalities stood idle while these buildings were constructed. They may face legal prosecutions, and they may lose their posts. We are immediately starting inspections and punishments,” the Prime Minister said.
Not surprisingly, Bodrum’s environmentalists are behind this measure, with the spokesperson of the Bodrum Blue Way Initiative Filiz Dizdar calling for the reopening of public beaches.
Bodrum property consultant Cameron Deggin, who has lived on the peninsula on and off for more than 20 years, is applauding the move. “Development in Bodrum has been fast and furious. There are some wonderful initiatives happening around the peninsula but Erdogan’s move highlights the need for responsible development.”
Deggin added that the clampdown on illegal construction also highlighted the need for prospective buyers to be savvy about buying Bodrum property.
“It’s absolutely crucial that you check out that the property you are about to buy has all the correct deeds and planning permissions,” he said. “Most people would never cut corners like this at home, but we still find that a lot of prospective buyers get excited about a good deal and fail to do their homework. If in doubt, find a lawyer or ask a reputable agent for their opinion,” Deggin urged.