Awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education, the Blue Flag certification endorses beaches around the world for meeting high standards. Turkey has 486 such beaches, ready for the summer season.
According to the Blue Flag website, “The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary eco-labels awarded to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators”.
The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) awards the Blue Flag to sustainable and eco-friendly operations throughout the world.
There are 4664 beaches, marinas and boats certified with the Blue Flag around the world in 46 countries. “In order to qualify for the Blue Flag,” the FEE says, “a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.”
Turkey too is the recipient of the Blue Flag award. TRT World was able to contact Almila Kindan Cebbari, the national coordinator for Blue Flag Turkey, who works for the Foundation for Environmental Education in Turkey (TURCEV), an NGO.
Over email, Kindan Cebbari says that the Blue Flag certification system has been increasing the environmental quality of seas and the satisfaction of tourists for 33 years, providing clean and sustainable beaches for all, including the elderly and the disabled.
According to Kindan Cebbari, the Blue Flag criteria were established by the World Health Organization and the European Commission to protect public health, and have been in effect in Turkey since 1993. The establishments that have been awarded the Blue Flag have set high standards in cleanliness, hygiene, and are used to being inspected and practicing auto-control mechanisms to keep qualifying for the Blue Flag.
Kindan Cebbari proudly points out that Turkey is the third place among all Blue Flag countries since 2013 with 486 Blue Flag beaches in 2020, following Spain (590 beaches) and Greece (497 beaches). In 2015 and 2016 the country was in second place thanks to the number of beaches that met the strict standards of the FEE.
Kindan Cebbari interprets these results as indicative of the importance Turkey places on promotion of tourism and environmental management on its coasts. The lists are provided on the Turkey Blue Flag page, updated to reflect the most recent information from 2020.
Kindan Cebbari says she is wholeheartedly agreeing with Blue Flag when she quotes “You can count on Blue Flag beaches, marinas and tourism boats to always uphold the highest standards of health, safety, services, water quality and environmental education-because Blue Flag protects our coasts, our planet and our people! When you see the Blue Flag flying high, you know that it’s safe to visit!”