DAKAR Senegal will seek a new site for the Turkish embassy after plans to built it on a pristine stretch of coastline in the capital Dakar sparked fierce protests from environmentalists and civil society groups, an official said on Tuesday.
Former President Abdoulaye Wade had awarded Turkey a large plot of coastal land for its embassy but the start of construction at the site sparked demonstrations last month by groups eager to preserve access to the beach for ordinary people.
The protests highlighted anger in the West African nation's capital over a property boom that is swallowing the coastline and squeezing ordinary people's income.
"We have agreed with the Turkish government that we will find them another site in Dakar," Souleymane Jules Diop, an advisor to President Macky Sall, told Reuters.
Turkish Ambassador Zeynep Sibel Algan told local radio that she would be happy to see the new embassy located on another site. Luxury villas, hotels and shopping centers have sprung up along Dakar's coastal road in recent years, diminishing the public spaces used by residents to relax, walk and exercise.
Built on a peninsula reaching into the Atlantic Ocean, the city of three million is growing at breakneck speed, fueled by migrants from rural Senegal and neighboring countries. Hemmed in by water on three sides, Dakar's population is on track to hit five million by 2025, experts say.
(Reporting By Diadie Ba; Editing by Daniel Flynn)