By Evie Andreou
FRIENDS of the Earth (FoE), accompanied by members of the Green Party played golf with stuffed turtles outside interior and agriculture ministries on Thursday to protest against the creation of golf courses near turtle-nesting beaches in the Limni area in the Chrysochous Bay.
Protesters first gathered outside the interior ministry where they called on the minister Socratis Hasikos to save the turtles before moving on to the agriculture ministry.
Following an application filed by Cyprus Limni Resorts and Golfcourses PLC, a member of the Shacolas Group, the Supreme Court ruled recently that the environmentally important area could be excluded from the Natura 2000 network. The company plans to build two golf courses, a luxury hotel, villas and residential units in the area.
The Supreme Court’s decision for technical reasons does not affect the European Comission, which thinks that the area requires the protection and management afforded to all Natura 2000 areas.
The Polis-Yialia area is the most important beach in Cyprus for the Caretta caretta turtles, which is where they lay their eggs.
Conservation group Terra Cypria said last week that initial expert recommendations to define a development-free 475-metre zone were ignored.
“There was no objection to the entire development, but to the creation of light and noise pollution on the beach that would prevent spawning and disorient newborn turtles” Terra Cypria had said.