A group of people in Istanbul protested against the “Green Road” project Sunday that aims to link highlands and touristic areas across eight Black Sea Turkish provinces.
The protesters gathered in Beyoglu district, where they chanted slogans against the project, claiming it would impact the environment and harm the region’s natural beauty.
Hale Arikan, a spokeswoman for the group, said that the project must be stopped as soon as possible.
The “Green Road” or “Journey to the Green” project aims to link important highlands and touristic areas across Samsun, Ordu, Giresun, Gumushane, Bayburt, Trabzon, Rize and Artvin, via a 2,600-kilometer long (1,600 miles) road.
Tourism centers, including restaurants, motels, and grass skiing resorts at around 40 different locations along the route, are planned to be built within the framework of the project, which was initiated by the Eastern Black Sea Project Regional Development Administration of Turkey’s Development Ministry (DOKAP).
The project will enable tourists to tour 40 highlands in eight provinces within a week.
So far, 500 kilometers of the road have been completed. The project, which is expected to bring five times more tourists to the Black Sea region, is planned to end in 2018.
According to DOKAP, the project was being carried out in an “environment friendly” way while preserving “biological diversity”.
“This project will strengthen the region’s economy, expand local people’s business and will develop tourism there. It will never harm the environment, forests and plants,” Kadem Eksi, a businessman and founder of Ikizdere Association, a local nongovernmental organization, told Anadolu Agency.
Eksi, who was born in Rize and has been following the developments closely added: “It is not acceptable to react to this project which will prevent the region from becoming isolated and will develop the locality [...]. We, as non-governmental organizations, believe it is a sustainable project and support it robustly."