A Turkish festival due to take place next weekend has been delayed amid concerns over endangered sea turtles.
Organisers of PopFest 2019, which is set in Turkey’s southern province of Mersin, decided to hold the event back after outcries from environmentalists.
Concerns were raised because the festival was set to take place during the spawning period for the carretta carrettas who lay their eggs on the seashore at this time of year. Environmentalists feared the sound and light pollution may affect incubation periods, which usually start in May.
The carretta carrettas, also known as Loggerhead sea turtles, leave their eggs in 50 centimetre holes and the incubation period is expected to last around 50 days. Female Loggerhead turtles only lay eggs every two to three years.
Organiser Hüseyin Çalışkan confirmed the event has been delayed, telling Hurriyet Daily News:
We have abstained from harming the environment and listened to the public in Mersin, thus we delayed the festival.
After meeting with Neşet Tarhan, mayor of Mezitli district in Mersin, and Hasan Engin, head of the Mersin Industrialists and Businessmen Association, he added:
We will make a detailed announcement about the festival in a press conference soon.
Engin noted the festival would contribute to the local economy but said protecting the environment was more important than money.
The festival, which will draw interest from across Turkey, has great importance in promoting Mersin. The event will provide income to the local shops and increase the occupancy rates in the hotels. However, the right to life of all living things comes first.
After news of the festival broke, Haluk Levent, a well known Turkish singer and founder of the charity network Anatolian People and Peace Platform, took to Twitter to urge musicians booked to perform at the festival to speak up in favour of the turtles.
Caretta caretta’lar için o bölgede yıllarca yürüyüş yaptık. Mersin idare mahkemesine başvurduk. Soda fabrikasına arıtma tesisi kurdurduk.
Şimdi bu festival yapılmasın demiyorum ama bir yol bulunsun o alanlar tahrip edilmesin.
O gün konser verecek sanatçıların da desteği lazım https://t.co/HqEGalld4n
— Haluk Levent (@haluk_levent) May 27, 2019
He told his 1.65 million followers:
For years, we have organized rallies in that area for the sake of caretta carettas. We applied to the administrative court in Mersin. We forced a sparkling water company to set up a treatment unit. I am not telling you to cancel this festival but find a way to prevent damage in that area.
The festival’s revised date is yet to be confirmed, but it’s great to hear the environment is being put first for once.
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