Ministry to set hotline for ‘coastal occupation’ complaints

The Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Ministry will establish a hotline, enabling the public to report businesses obstructing access to beaches and occupying coasts, Minister Mehmet Özhaseki has announced.

The environment minister recently announced the "Seas are for the People" initiative to combat unlawful "coastal occupation," which increasingly hinders public access to the sea.

Coastal businesses impose rules restricting public entry to the beach or demand fees for beach access or sunbeds, string a series of protests last summer.

Speaking to the press on May 21, Özhaseki highlighted the completion of preparations for a hotline where citizens can directly contact the ministry to report such establishments.

"We will establish a hotline for reports. Citizens will say, 'These entities are impeding our access to the sea.' Türkiye is a state of law. There is no power above the law, no power above the Turkish state. We will respond to those operating illegal structures with the law," Özhaseki expressed.

"We will clear all illegal structures and ensure our people have easy access to beaches."

Since he unveiled the initiative, the minister has received a large number of complaints from the citizens noting that some influential individuals in the region are using these businesses to close off coastal areas.

Özhaseki emphasized that the ministry's oversight will encompass not only heavily touristed areas but also all coasts from the northern province of Artvin to Hatay in the country's south, aiming to liberate the country's shores from "mafia-like behaviors."

"We observe coastal areas being seized through mafia-like attitudes. We will not permit this," he said.

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