Akdamar Island, previously known as Aghtamar, is an island on Lake Van and is steeped in history. Among other things, it is home to the stunning and unique 10th century Armenian Holy Cross Cathedral, the seat of the Armenian Apostolic Catholicosate of Ahgtamar from 1116 to 1895.
Van Province has suffered great damage to its natural environment in recent years due to the building of Hydro-electric plants and the digging of marble and stone quarries, and a further stone quarry on the lake shore opposite Akdamar Island is to be added to this.
Medya News has previously reported on the serious enivornmental damage being done to Lake Van.
There have also been serious objections to Gevaş Municipality granting this licence from local people of Van.
Municipality defends itself
By granting a licence for quarry works in the area opposite Akdamar Island, the AKP-controlled Gevaş council will be instrumental in ruining the silhouette of the island. In its defence, the AKP controlled council had stated: “A ÇED (Environmental Effect Evaluation) report has been done, there will be no environmental damage.”
But the people of Van are vehemently against the quarry works and have started a petition on social media.
They expressed their dismay: “It is ridiculous to dig a quarry on a shoreline which has few equals for beauty on the planet, and where people bathe regularly. In addition to this, this area has probably the greatest potential for tourism facilities in the east of Turkey, the sight of a stone quarry will be a horrible scar on the district. There are a number of places where stone quarries could be dug further from the lake shore. This is a violation of nature and of the rights of the people. We demand the annulment of the licence and the ÇED report, and the closure of the quarry works.”