Political parties and professional and civil society organisations in Turkey have been protesting at the start of construction work in Phaselis, an ancient city in the southern province of Antalya.
Public anger escalated after videos showing construction equipment brought to the ancient site were circulated earlier this week on social media.
The Antalya Chamber of Architects was the first to draw attention to the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s project for redesigning the city’s coastal area, which includes the building of tourist facilities, a cafeteria, showers and toilets.
Activists on Saturday protested against the ongoing construction work in the area, holding placards reading “Stay away from our heaven!”.
A petition has been launched by the “Do Not Touch Phaselis!” (#Phaselisedokunma) initiative calling on Turkish authorities to stop the project.
The petition, supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Turkey branch, points out that the ancient Lycian city is a protected archeological area of the first degree and includes two untouched bays.
Located in the Tekirova district of Antalya, Phaselis is not only an archeological site home to 2,600-year-old Roman remains, but also a national park supporting various endemic plants as well as providing shelter for amphibians, reptiles and waterfowl, according to the WWF.