New airport at Kaş?
The Turkish government, as part of its long-term tourism strategy, has proposed and is starting surveying work on, a new airport to serve Kaş and Demre. The other interpretation is that this was a pre-election bribe to the voters of the Demre area, where 5 new hotels are being built on unspoiled beachside (mainly forestry) land. And why? To attract visitors to the church of St Nicholas. BUT of course the principle visitors are the Russians – and will they ever come back???
Unfortunately(?), there is very little flat land around Kaş, so the location of the airport is somewhat constrained. The previously proposed site is near Sarılar, Çerler and Belkonak villages, just north of the main Kaş – Demre road and close to the unexcavated but extensive hilltop site of Cyanaea. The new, alternative site is immediately above Kaş, close to Agullu and Pinarbaşı, close to the amazing site at Phellos, also unexcavated. Neither area has been fully explored for minor sites, isolated graves and old roads.
The work seems to involve slicing off an entire hilltop – which raises the usual question – where does the excavated rock and earth and the site rubbish go? Judging by previous works, probably in the nearest river valley or canyon, where it will pollute the water as well as destroying farming land. And what about the noise? for either site, the planes will have to circle over the sea and approach over Kaş – destroying peace and quiet.
There is a clash of interests between two local tourism groups – Kaş hosts much alternative tourism which of course uses trekking and bicycle routes and the tourism operators would prefer to continue to use Dalaman or Antalya airports. The builders of the new five-star hotels at Demre (blocking access to a fine beach) would like a local airport so that they can compete on level terms with Belek.
The airport as proposed is supposed to be for small aircraft only (but then, what is the point of it?) But the ancillary buildings, the need to transport aircraft fuel through miles of woodland, the transport services for visitors, all have to be considered. For Turkish speakers, please check Kuzey Ormanları for futher information about the project:
If you have walked the Lycian Way around Kaş and would like to make your voice heard on this matter, please write to Sn Mahir Ünal, Minister of Culture and Tourism, via Facebook.