Friends of Gökova-Akyaka

 Newsletter 05/2005      

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 About the BIYO - GÖKOVA Project

One of the solutions for sustainable development decided by Biyo-Gökova Project, which is supported by UNDP / GEF Small Grant Programme, is alternative tourism. For this purpose, we have prepared and published a guidebook consisting of 18 walks which introduces the nature and history of our area in three languages and includes a map of the region as well as a city map of Akyaka. The first edition of 5000 copies will be given away free of cost by the society. We thank all those who have contributed to the preparation of this guidebook.

We have also obtained an ISBN number for our publications from the Library and Publication Head Office of the Culture and Tourism Ministry. We’d like to prepare a guidebook on flora, fauna and ecological life of the region and thus create a series. (Internet: )

Another outcome of the Biyo-Gökova Project to encourage sustainable development is ecological farming. Ecological Farming is a good chance for our farmers to continue farming in the future because farming is one of the most problematic issues that cannot hold out against competition during the EU process. More than 40 farmers with 250-hectare land are willing to change to ecological farming and with the union they are going to form, they will gain strength to cope with gross demands and resist competition as one organism. For us, who work in preservation of nature it is a priority to preserve ecological balance and it is a fact that farming with chemicals has a bad effect on the eco-systems in the Gökova Plain, which has a diversity of flora and fauna. Polluted ground waters, decreasing numbers of wildlife or even disappeared wild animals… To live in a clean environment is a right for us all.

This year, we could not organise our annual Akçapinar Stork Walk. Before the walk we wanted to check the present situation and made a checkout walk. We are afraid to say that the group of nests on three eucalyptus trees we saw last year have been destroyed because these trees have been cut down. Because of insensitiveness the stork population has diminished greatly. Whereas these storks, which we introduced through the national media, were also this year nominees for media attention. The national channel TRT contacted us to ask for the date of this year’s Stork Walk. Unfortunately, we had to tell them that we were not organising a walk.

At the end of March, we joined the GEF/SGP Project Members meeting as the project leaders of the now finished project, which was successful in most issues. Project issues like sustainable farming and tourism will of course go on. We regard this as a beginning of a new project. We will try to continue this kind of activities and took executive decision to give financial support within our opportunities.

We have joined two meetings in Ankara to form bird data standards in Turkey.

Nail Çakırhan & Halet Çambel Culture and Art House:

 For this year’s exhibition season, we have an exhibition calendar and brochures with the artists’ introductions in three languages. The Art House opened with Feride Dagli’s Aquarelle on 20th May,. Until 30th September, we will have the chance to visit 12 different exhibits including sculpture and photograph.

For sculpture, ceramic objects etc. we have had ten pedestals made.

The Art House has been cleaned and maintained. The gate has also been repaired.

2005 Exhibitions Programme:
20.05 - 29.05         Feride Dağlı
03.06 - 12.06         “Birds”
17.06 - 26.06         Bronzhane
01.07 - 10.07         Çiğdem Meral
15.07 - 24.07         Hikmet Öz
29.07 - 07.08         Mediha Gerez Çakmak
12.08 - 21.08         Işık Soytürk
26.08 - 04.09         Cem Sağbil
09.09 - 18.09         Svetlana İnaç
23.09 - 02.10         Tülin Çiftçi
07.10 - 16.10         Mücella Küçükalpelli
21.10 - 30.10         Ayten Taşpınar

 The exhibitions start at 18:00 as last year and are free for everybody.

 What else did we do?

 Our municipality and the society have agreed to create a more organised work environment for the developments in Akyaka. The first step of this formation is being completed. We would like to remind the process:

1-      A permanent dialogue between the municipality and the society

2-      A meeting and support call with the state offices of the area ( 3 October 2004 )

3- Meeting with the private sector and the co-operatives (Vision Akyaka, 4-5 November 2004)

4- Separate meetings for strategies of the municipality and the society (December 2004)

5- The “Vision of the society” Workshop (G.A.S.-Der Vision, 6 January 2005)

6- Meetings of municipality with society members and public (Spring 2005)

At the G.A.S.-Der “Vision” workshop priority was given to the society’s ‘professionalism’, ‘stability’ and ‘preservation of nature’ as its strong points according to the SWOT analysis. The weak points were determined, as we expected ‘communication insufficiency’, ‘weak participation’ and an ‘image problem’.

As for opportunities, on top comes ‘Co-operation with the Local Administrative Units’, the most important threat being ‘Bad intentions’ towards the society.

 At the end of the Workshop the Vision of the Society was formed as:

In an AKYAKA where nature and architecture is preserved,
Infrastructure is completed,
With a lively social and cultural life,
Joined in common values,
And sharing this richness with all visitors throughout the year.

A SOCIETY which expertise in preserving nature and cultural heritage,
Under its own roof and plant,
Establishing participation of public by social, cultural and educational activities,
Open to interaction,
Formed an alternative lifestyle in the area with its environmental mind,
Carrying this phenomenon to a global dimension with its strong and intense communication skills.


In order to run activities in the area together with the people living in the plain and so forming a self-control mechanism, the society, with its institutional form:

·         trains people who are sensitive to environment and nature by doing educational training,

·         provides continuity in society activities with the locals,

·         takes leadership in especially nature preserving, by scientific studies,

·         shares results by publishing research and consulting,

·         joins national and international co-operations,

·         updates its studies by joining national and international communication networks,

·         makes and runs development projects which preserve nature

 The Vision studies of the municipality and the society are now a guidebook for future works. It is high time to get down and wipe out some criticisms that were made against the society. In fact, participants of the workshops and non-governmental groups in our town share this opinion. We have searched for solutions especially in communication and co-operation issues, by contacting interested groups. The results are positive.

There are 14 new members and three different groups. Although these groups have different strategies, their common point is that the society provides a ‘roof’ for them, i.e. it is an organ that organises and co-ordinates the groups. The authority and duty of the groups are as follows:

 1- Friends of Gökova-Akyaka Women’s Group (KG)
Chairperson: Nevin Arpınar (tel: 0252 243 5595)
Vice Chairperson: Hasibe Salar (tel: 0252 243 5779)
Accountant: Bedia Erdem
Vice Accountant: Mükerrem Şahin
Its aim is to realise activities giving priority in social and of course women issues.

 2- Friends of Gökova-Akyaka Ecological Farming Work Group (OTÇG)
Co-ordinator: Mustafa Ateş (mobile tel: 0533- 52450 96)
In Charge: Salih Armutçuoğlu (tel: 0252 246 6172)
In Charge: Mehmet Pekmezci (mobile tel: 0533- 2637622)
Consultant: Aydın Özdemir
 It organises works to begin ecological farming.

 3- Friends of Gökova- Akyaka Street Animals Work Group (SHÇG)
In Charge: Yasemin İLSEVEN (tel: 0252 243 5165)

It co-ordinates works concerning street animals with both the municipality and the society. The society provides organisation, advertisement, and material. The municipality provides finances.

In order to keep the non-governmental character of the platform the participants do not have to be society members, but attention has been paid that the organizers are members. The aim is that people in the plain can benefit from an active and well equipped non-governmental organisation. The society has taken the the role of the facilitator in these important works.

The project concerning fighting mosquitoes still goes on in co-operation with the municipality. We hope to be as successful as we were last year. If you still had not had the chance to get a brochure or repellents, you can obtain them from our office.

Because we have many works in common, a strong bond between the municipality and the society has developed.

With these developments our potential has increased and we have started to work with many people. Our beloved tiny office now gets too small on some days.

If you would like to join this warm atmosphere or are interested in our work or only would like to have a coffee with us, or if you have questions, recommendations, criticism, you are welcome in our office in Nail Çakırhan Street.

 Yours faithfully, Bahar Suseven, Chairperson

 Announcement for our members or friends:

 We thank you very much for the support you gave to our studies as member of the Society of the Friends of Gökova-Akyaka.

 The continuation of your support is very important for us. The seemingly trifle effort you do by paying the membership fees or donate to our association in order to help to our work to protect the natural, urban and cultural values which diminish more every day, may look limited to you but they are very important for us.

Any payments can be made at the societies office,

Or to: Garanti bank, Muğla, Account No.  507-629 9583

With the hope that your support of the Society of Friends of Gökova-Akyaka will continue,

yours sincerely

Thomas Schmitz,