AFTER 15 years with precious little to show for it, once again the Bafra Tourism Centre is back on the government's agenda.
With just two of a planned 13 high-end hotels built and open, and two more in the pipeline, the government is delivering an ultimatum to those who have failed to come good on their pledged investment, expressing determination to see the ambitious scheme through.
Bafra is arguably a flawed project. Those upset at the despoilation of a once-lovely stretch of Karpaz coastline think so, and it's reasonable to conclude that many of the putative investors agree, given that even those who theoretically stand to profit from it have yet to put their money where their mouths were.
There's a school of thought that at least creating a Karpaz hotels “ghetto” at Bafra will spare the rest of the scenic and still largely unspoiled peninsula. If that were to be true, sacrificing one small fishing village for the greater good might be seen as a price worth paying.
But development is unlikely to stop there. One official suggested that seeing Bafra through would “shift the tourism focus” from Girne – widely seen as having been ruined by the sheer scale and volume of construction.
It's unlikely that the Karpaz could be quite so comprehensively trashed – and at the current rate of progress it would take for ever – but it wouldn't take much scattered construction to spoil the remote paradise that constitutes one of the last remaining vestiges of the North Cyprus of yesteryear.
Meanwhile, with the wooden bungalows demolished and feral donkeys set to be finally cooped up in the fenced “National Park”, rumours continue to swirl about the government's intentions for the iconic, and as yet undamaged, Golden Beach.
The temptation to invite bidders must be immense. Will officials yield to it, as many fear?
The evidence of Bafra lends us little confidence in either the state's vision or its competence.
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