The mayor of Gazipasa district in Turkey’s southern Antalya province, Mehmet Ali Yilmaz, has returned a motion barring Syrians from public beaches, the T24 news portal reported on Tuesday.
Yilmaz on Tuesday returned the motion that was put forward by Ulas Ozgen, a municipal council member who claimed on Monday that locals were disturbed by Syrians on the beaches.
The council accepted the ban on Syrians with 12 of the votes, with seven members of the council from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), not voting in favor of the motion.
The mayor from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) stated in a press conference that he does not agree with the decision to ban Syrians from public beaches and thus returned the motion to the municipal council.
Yilmaz said the ban is against Article 10 of the Constitution.
“Everyone is equal before the law without distinction as to language, race, color, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, and sect, or any such grounds,” says Article 10 of the Constitution.
Ali Sakar, the district governor of Gazipasa, also emphasized in a written statement that all shores are under the disposal of the government and is open for everyone’s equal and free use, as it is indicated in the Coastal Law No. 3621.
“Until the municipal council is authorized on the issue, the council does not have the authority to bring the issue to its agenda and put to a vote. Even if such a decision is taken, since it is against the Constitution, the law and international treaties, it would be null and void and could not be enforced,” Sakar argued.
The attempt to bar Syrians from Gazipasa beaches came a few days after CHP Mayor Hayri Turkyilmaz of Mudanya, a coastal district in the northwestern Bursa province also issued a similar ban.
Field researches say that most of the Turks see some 3,6 million Syrian refugees that Turkey currently hosts as the reason for the country’s unemployment, increasing rents and economic disruption.