Abant Lake Case in Turkey

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Jul 20, 2010
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Abant Lake Construction Story

Abant is a beautiful and even spectacular natural lake inside massive forested areas in Bolu Province of Turkey. It is about 250 km far away from Istanbul and about the same distance from Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. Being located just in the middle of the Ankara-Istanbul axis, two of the largest metropolises of Turkey having 20 million population together, makes the lake more attractive to people from all classes (politicians, media members, artists, public, etc.) of the society. The lake and its vicinity is quite suitable for people to spend leisure time, summer picnic, winter sports and several daily activities like trekking, jogging, orienteering etc. It has a nice pathway around it offering nice scenery. Even there are some hotels and motels to spend nights in the park. The forest surrounding the lake was declared as Nature Park regarding the Law on National Parks of 1983 No: 2873, aiming to implement more strict protection measures. Last year, for an unknown reason the Mayor of Bolu decided the construct a wooden bridge on the lake, close to its edge not in the middle of it, for maybe to see the middle of the lake more closely. However, people have gossiped that the Mayor asked his advisors, experts and other bureaucrats in his Province that what if they construct a bridge on the lake. And the gossipers, the people who escorted the Mayor answered that it was perfect. In the year 2008 the weather was more drought, even observed the most drought season throughout the Country since many years, and the rainfall was low. Therefore, the water level on the lake was dropped down to a substantial amount and the bridge came out off the water, seeming like a freak, no water underneath. Then, the Mayor made a decision about closing the drainage channel of the lake to get the water level increased. Then he ordered starting a new construction activity to close the draining creeks of the lake. Then, in last winter and during the year, heavy snow, rainfall and creeks increased water level on the lake for about 2 meters. Then, it flooded all pathways, hotels etc., and also spoiled the nature messing up all beauty, flora and even habitats of fauna as Abant trout, a fish species endemic to Abant Lake. Such messy activities and practices have attracted first local people, local experts, local media and CSOs. Then, pursuant to their efforts and lobbying national media have paid much attention. Ultimately the Government has heard the issue and the Prime Minister fired the Mayor out of office along with some directors of local branches of public institutions like the manager of the local branch of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Even some of them were sued at the court and possibly will be imposed some sanctions. Then, all messy activities were stopped and the drainage system of the lake will be dismantled and reversed back to its original condition. This it is a success story of local people, media involvement and CSOs.

More info on Abant Lake can be found here:



Pictures on the case can be found under TAI’s Flickr account.

Yusuf Gunes Aynur Aydin Coskun Csaba Kiss


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