Hotel construction near Eymir Lake (Ankara)

Broad and diverse public participation resulted in fruitful discussions and fostered the local communities’ constructive inclusion in decision making, which eventually resulted in the conservation of a protected area.

A hotel was planned to be built 150 meters from Lake Eymir, Ankara. The area around the lake includes a forest which is within the boundaries of a strictly protected area. The lake itself is a home to hundreds of birds, and plant and animal species. The lake is also within the boundaries of the Middle East Technical University.

When the EIA process started for the construction of the hotel, under the leadership of the Chamber of Environmental Engineers, civil society and the general public were informed of the project and its possible impact through activities at the lake, social media campaigns, and other media coverage. Press statements were given by the Chamber, members of the Parliament visited, and an NGO forum was established to discuss the effects of the construction project. A public meeting was held at the lake and members of Parliament visited for a second time after the social media campaign “#Protect Eymir” was launched.

There was a high level of participation on the day of the public consultation meeting from all over Ankara, including civil society, general public, academia, and media. The public was well informed about the hotel project and its effects on the surrounding area. The public addressed questions to the investing company about: the lack of treatment facilities; threats to birds and animals living in the area; and the misperception that the lake was under the exclusive use of the University. The company could not answer the questions to the satisfaction of the participating public, and the members of the press recorded the discussions. After the consultation meeting the investor decided not to proceed with the EIA process and abandoned the project.