The Çeşme Artificial Reef project, which was initiated 10 years ago as an attraction for divers and to increase the number of fish, has begun to come to life.
In the first step of the project, 50 concrete blocks were left off Karada (Eşekada) Island on March 15.
Eşme District Gov. Mustafa Erkayıran said their goal was to establish an underwater city in the district.
"When I took the post in July 2015, my first job was to deal with this project that was initiated 10 years ago but never realized. The project aims to diversify underwater life and create a visual richness for tourism. We have applied to many organizations to receive permission on the issue. Then we took the step to implement the project. We began the project by putting 50 of 125 concrete blocks in the sea," he said.
Erkayıran said they would take the next steps more quickly to prevent illegal fishing and create a new diving spot, adding that they would submerge one or two ferries during the second leg of the project.
The district governor said they had demanded a ferry from the Naval Forces that would come at the end of summer, as well as a 66-meter car ferry from İzmir Metropolitan Municipality.
"Talks are continuing with the municipality. If it is approved, we want to use the ferry for tourism in Çeşme. Also, a sample of the ancient city of Ephesus will be made and submerged. We want to finish the underwater city by the 2017 tourism season," Erkayıran said.