Marmaris City Council Chairman Ufuk Beytekin has been involved in the union movement throughout his career. He served as the chairman of the Media Communication and Postal Employees Union (Haber-Sen) which is affiliated with the Confederation of Public Employees Trade Unions (KESK). He continued rights defending at the Marmaris City Council in the following years. Beytekin has been sued for “unfair competition” due to his statements about the construction project of a hotel and time-share by Sinpaş GYO in İçmeler, Marmaris.

Ufuk Beytekin was born in Zonguldak in 1966. He worked for PTT (Turkish Post) until his retirement. He became the Zonguldak representative for Haber-Sen in 1990, and he later served as its chairman during 2011-14. He moved to Marmaris, Muğla in 2015 for his post.

Serving as chief in Marmaris PTT directorate and the legal secretary for Haber-Sen at the time, Beytekin was investigated for two separate statements he made during the strike on October 12-13 initiated by labor movements following the Ankara Railway Station Massacre of October 10th, 2015. The Prosecutor’s Office started two separate investigations on Beytekin on the charges of “defamation of the President” after the complaint from PTT Muğla Directorate. The prepared indictments were accepted by both courts. The first case hearing was held at the 4th Criminal Court of First Instance of the Marmaris Courthouse on May 17th, 2016. The second case began on June 9th, 2016, at the Marmaris 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.

In 2016, Beytekin was reassigned to Isparta by the institution he worked for because of the two lawsuits filed against him. It was due to this exile that he retired as soon as he became eligible to do so. He was later acquitted in both cases.

During that time, Beytekin also served as the Marmaris spokesperson for the United June Movement, through which he was introduced to the Marmaris City Council. As the United June Movement, they prepared a manifesto with demands and expectations from their local government and delivered it to the nominees via the City Council before the 2019 local elections. They invited the Bursa Nilüfer City Council as a well-working example of the city council system to Marmaris and learned about their operations. Beytekin was elected chairman at the general assembly of the Marmaris City Council with an attendance of 170 people on June 27th, 2019.

What led Beytekin to the defense of rights was the reactivation of Sinpaş GYO’s hotel and time-share project in İçmeler which had remained idle for the last 30 years. The forest fires that broke out during the summer of 2021 could not be extinguished for days, and the situation heightened ecological sensitivities in the region. The City Council filed a lawsuit against the ruling that the construction project did not require an Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED). On August 3rd, 2022, the 3rd Administrative Court of Muğla overturned the aforementioned ruling. Sinpaş GYO continued construction for five more days despite this decision. The locals then submitted petitions to the municipality and governorship that demanded the enforcement of the ruling. They prepared criminal complaints to submit to the Prosecutor’s Office if no action was to be taken. After five days, the Marmaris Municipality sealed off the construction site. Marmaris City Council members including Beytekin who visited the site after it was sealed off reported that the construction was being continued and that heavy machinery was still entering the site. They started to stand guard very early on August 9th, 2022, and invited all residents of Marmaris to join them. Beytekin and other rights defenders were taken into custody and released on the evening of the same day.

Meanwhile, Sinpaş GYO filed a lawsuit for damages against Beytekin for 300 thousand Turkish Lira on the charges of  “unfair competition”. The indictment included as evidence the press statements by Beytekin about the environmental damage of the project and parts of his defense from the hearing to overturn the ruling that the construction project did not require an Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED). 

The first hearing of the case took place on December 20th, 2022, in Istanbul. During the hearing held at the Istanbul 16th Criminal Court of First Instance in Çağlayan, the court postponed the hearing to April 11th, 2023. The reason for the postponement was that missing documents were to be obtained.

Beytekin made a statement after the hearing saying: “We have completed one phase of our environmental struggle against Sinpaş in Marmaris. Sinpaş has sued us for “unfair competition” so that they can continue their disruption of the environment and wear down those who of us struggling against it. We will continue to protect Marmaris without relenting. The basic issue is one of morality. The law has no force when there is no morality. Sinpaş falsely reported to the stock market that they were not operating. Sinpaş also continues to work on the construction even though the site has been sealed off by the municipality. We will continue our struggle. We will continue to protect our environment.”