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Turtles in Turkey

Turkish turtles begin journey toward sea

Saturday, August 23, 2014, 4:51 PM - It was quite a spectacle at Iztuzu Beach in southwestern Turkey.

Dozens of Loggerhead sea turtles hatched from their eggs and began their trek toward the Mediterranean. The beach is one of the main breeding grounds for the Caretta caretta turtles and is sometimes called "Turtle Beach."

The species is currently considered endangered and their nesting season is closely monitored by conservationists and volunteers. Beaches are patrolled daily to make sure the eggs are undisturbed by human presence.

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Some of the most common disturbances include: 

  • Artificial lights that can disturb hatchlings and send them away from the ocean.
  • Vehicles on the beach can compact the sand making it difficult for potential mothers to dig up a nest for their eggs. Furthermore they can also lead to nests collapsing.
  • Dogs running through the beach can dig up the nests or even deter female turtles from laying eggs. Walking dogs on certain beaches in Europe can land you a fine of up to €854 and knowingly interfering with the nesting process can cost you €17,000 and up to three years in prison.

In Cyprus, conservationists are challenging a Supreme Court decision that excludes a series of environmentally important beaches from a network of protected areas. The decision, according to environmentalists, was made based on a technicality and is not reflected in the data provided to the court.

A European commission earlier in the year determined that the country had not done enough to protect the endangered turtles and pushed for the region to join the Natura 2000 network, the centrepiece of nature and biodiversity conservation of the European Union.

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