Fethiye is full of so many interesting characters, we decided that it was about time we met a few of them. This is the fourth in a series of interviews with local people, living and working in Fethiye.
Where are you originally from?
I am from Istanbul and moved to Yeşilüzümlü, Fethiye 8 years ago.
What do you remember from your childhood growing up?
My mother was working as a bank manager and my father was a trader. They were always very busy with work. Missing their company is my main childhood memory.
Can you tell us a little about your home life/ give us an example of a typical day?
I wake up very early in the mornings because I have 11 dogs and 27 cats, some of these animals are disabled. My day starts with feeding and cleaning them. I have a pet shop in Üzümlü and run a multinational trading company, with a branch in Istanbul. I am a geology engineer and also work as a consultant for a drilling company, which is based in Italy. I am at the shop/office the rest of the day. Besides my business, I am also very much involved with Hayed and animal welfare in general, being one of the local area animal protection officers in Muğla province.
What prompted the move to Üzümlü?
I used to have 2 dogs when I was living in Istanbul and my dream for them was to have their own garden, where they can run and play freely anytime they want to.
What is your favourite thing about living in Fethiye?
The diversity of the population and the amazing scenery within the area.
Are there any changes you would like to see?
Not only in Fethiye but throughout the country, I would like people being more aware and proactive regarding the welfare of animals and the education of our next generation.
You were in costume at the Mushroom Festival in April – are you a member of a dance/ cultural group? Can you tell me about this?
It was a one off event for the mushroom festival. We practiced for over 2 months for a 5 minute performance. It was extremely enjoyable and it really made me feel completely part of the communıty.
In addition to your day job, you also work closely with HAYED – can you tell me how you got involved with the organisation and what your role is?
I had been a volunteer in animal welfare over 24 years. I met with Gökçen Gökmen Bayram, who was the head of Fetav Fethiye Hayvan Dostları a couple of years after I moved to Fethiye. I started to give assistance with translation and I was on the street dogs feeding rota. We decided to establish a new registered charity, Hayed, a couple of months ago, where our aim was to merge the forces of all the animal welfare groups in the area. I was assigned, by vote, as the treasurer after our first General Assembly.
What is the primarily function of HAYED?
To give food and medical care to the street animals in the area, to promote awareness of rule no.5199, neutering the street animal population and to provide education about animal welfare. Everybody that works within Hayed is a volunteer, including the Board of Directors.
How does the local municipality support the work that HAYED does?
We work in conjunction with the Fethiye Municipality and Behçet Saatci is Hayed’s honorary member.
How does HAYED work with the local community?
We have an emergency telephone number which is 0531 710 4141. When there is an accident or emergency care is needed, people can reach us through this number and we direct them to the closest veterinary clinic. If they don’t have transportation, we have volunteers available to assıst with that. We have a neutering program which is based on trap, neuter, return. Local people of all nationalities are involved in a feeding and care programme throughout the year. Local restaurants, chicken shops, hospitals, hotels are all donating food on a regular basis.
The Organisation recently opened the Educational Centre in Fethiye, what are the main aims of this facility?
To inform local people about animal welfare – health, care of pets and street animals, as well as information about the local wildlife. We also want to educate the local children about animals. We have already visited 30 schools to give talks, with the assistance of a local vet and teacher, and have reached 15,109 students plus 600 pre-school children so far. Our aim is to continue our animal welfare education programme in the Education Park for the future. We are also planning to add a 3D education system within the centre, where children can learn by using a fun and enjoyable interface.
How does the work with HAYED change between seasons?
During the spring the work load increases due to the abundance of puppies and kittens from unneutered animals. Neutering is one of the primary aims of Hayed.
HAYED is solely funded by donations, is that correct? What fundraising activities do you do and how can the local community support you in this?
Yes, that’s correct. We have quiz nights, coffee mornings, table top sales, entertainment events, boat trips, and a Nearly New Shop. People can follow our event lists on our Hayed Facebook group.
If anyone wants more information about the work that HAYED does, or wants to make a donation, what is the best way to do this?
The Education Centre is open Monday to Friday 09.00 – 17.00, located opposite from Babafırın in Calış.
Our bank account and PayPal details are listed on our Hayed Facebook page for anyone who wishes to make a donation. Donations can also be made at the Education Centre.
Anything else you would like to share?
During these very hot days, you can save a life by simply putting a bowl of water outside of your house or business premises.