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About the Kaptan June Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation

June Haimoff worked for more than 25 years towards a better protection of Sea Turtles, mainly the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) in the Dalyan River Basin. She has been supported by diverse groups and people over the years, like Sir David Bellamy, DHKD, AGA etc. One of her main successes had been the abolishment of plans to build a big hotel complex on Iztuzu Beach, one of Turkey's main breeding sites for Loggerheads, in the late 1980's. As a consequence Dalyan/ Iztuzu became part of the first ever designated Köyceğiz- Dalyan Specially Protected Area (SEPA) by Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers (Decree Number 88/13019 dated 12.06.1988).

She was awarded an MBE in the Queens New Year Honours List of 2011.

Every movement toward turtle protection in the region and all over Turkey is based on these first efforts of one single woman.

Meanwhile the Pamukkale University in Denizli created a Rehabilitation Centre, neighbouring the PR facilities of the newly founded JUNE HAIMOFF SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION FOUNDATION on Iztuzu Beach. While DEKAMER is dealing with the research and rehabilitation side of turtle protection, the KAPTAN JUNE SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION FOUNDATION strives for the "greater picture", turtle habitat safety and protection, awareness building, education and the necessary demonstrative and practical pilot projects connected to these issues.

Kaptan June's long standing wish for a legal entity to make sea turtle protection more effective was fulfilled with the financial support of many friends and great donations from TUI AG and Futouris. Thanks to these sponsors the founders were able to acquire the legal assets required for the establishment of a foundation. 

(Diagram explaining the foundation's structure)


The Dalyan River and its basin are highly tourism orientated and turtles are seen as a commercially exploitable asset of the area. Sea Turtles are lured upstream and fed with crab lines as an attraction, 'turtle feeding tours' and 'turtle feeding restaurants' are on offer; decimating the turtle and Blue Crab populations alike. This, together with the ever increasing boat traffic on the river and in the delta leads to increasing numbers of propeller-slashed turtles, turtles with gastro-intestinal problems from ingested plastic bags and/or unsuitable food.  

The foundation aims to better this situation. Our vision can be read here and this diagram also explains our aims.

After getting the founders together and the constitution set up, the founders finally met at a notary office on November 11th 2010 to sign the papers. The five founders are June Haimoff, Abidin Kurt, Yasemin Pakyürek, Yakup Kaska and Bahar (Heike) Suseven. On February 24th, the foundation was confirmed by court decision and published in the Resmi Gazete on April 9th 2011. 

Our first General Meeting was held on May 6th, when the Board of Directors and Finance Board have been elected and some interested people became registered members. Since then a great many things have happened: 

Ø      Kaptan June's famous hut has been set up as a small centre for public relations, information and fund raising. A group of volunteers is helping out, manning the hut and cheerfully keep in contact with the many visitors of the facility.

Ø      Kaptan June's MBE and the foundation of the JUNE HAIMOFF SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION FOUNDATION have been celebrated with a cocktail party, partly organised by the Municipality of Dalyan with contributions from the British Embassy in Ankara. Participation was very good on this cheerful event, among the guests were the British Ambassador,  the British Consul, the Governor of Muğla, District Governor of Ortaca, the Mayors of Dalyan, Dalaman and Ortaca and a crowd of friends, visitors and interested residents.The press had a field day, too.

Ø      The first information leaflets have been prepared and disseminated. More intricate info material is being designed in the moment

Ø      A work plan has been drawn, ingesting the 'lessons learned' from the foundations first summer season and many tips and contributions from the volunteers on the ground. Our strategies for the future are based on this valuable input.

Ø      Of course the management of the foundation is new and everybody has to find his/her place first, but the board is meeting at least once a month to discuss every aspect of the foundation make new plans and implement the already existing ones for every month. The directors are in very close contact with each other, the Supervision Board, members, associates and volunteers.

Ø      Some ideas have already been converted into small projects and sent to potential supporters. We are confident to find all necessary contributions by and by, material and immaterial ones.

We are more than hopeful, that we can contribute to a safer environment for the Loggerhead Turtles and their breeding habitat. A contemporary protection of species can only be an integrated effort and has ideally to include their whole eco system. Since we can not protect these wanderers, once they are on the move to other Mediterranean places, we can at least make sure, that they can trust us and find their marine habitat in good shape and welcoming.

If you would like to be involved in this worthwhile project, please contact us:

- The Foundation at

Who are we?

In this part we introduce to you people that are active in our Foundation. This time, we will tell you about Rita Meier, one of our volunteers.


Kaptan June, or simply “June” as friends use to call her, asked me if I would like to write a few lines for the News Letter and I agreed, of course.Screen shot 2016-08-19 at 14.23.52

About me: My name is Rita Meier Borne and raised in Switzerland I am 69 years old I moved to Dalyan 8 years ago My first visit to Dalyan was in 1986. Ever since, this place has engraved itself in my mind and in my soul like a first true love. I would go on vacation to Dalyan when ever I could. It was during this period when I met June and learnt about the turtles of Dalyan and started to help her with this important challenge.

While diving or snorkelling, have you ever had the chance to see a sea turtle in its element, the deep blue sea? It would be an unforgettable adventure. The animal glides through the waves with the elegance of a bird. Unfortunately these wonderful creatures often become abused as they are tourist attractions. More and more turtles are getting seriously injured by boat Propellers, fishermen nets, fishhooks etc.

The sad result you can see when you visit the Turtle Rescue Centre at Iztuzu beach.

A proverb says prevention is better than cure.

Kaptan June’s Foundation makes it possible, with your contribution, dear reader, to equip boats with the necessary propeller guards. Please help us to save the beautiful species, thank you.

Dalyan, a jewel, an untouched dreamy fisherman’s village surrounded by cotton fields, orange- and lemon groves. I have partially witnessed it with my own eyes exactly the way June experienced Dalyan and described it in her books. In those days any tourist was an exotic happening and was welcomed with open arms and hospitality. For many years Dalyan remained unknown until real estate agents discovered it and made a big business of selling land to foreigners.

Screen shot 2016-08-19 at 14.23.55Nowadays that dreamy, tiny village turned into a world famous holiday destination. People from different countries come here on vacation. Progress and development can’t be stopped and I wish a happy and care free vacation for everyone.

The consequences of tourism however are beyond measurement. Tons of debris and waste that are mindlessly thrown out, hundreds of boats that cruise the river. It’s a burden upon the river, the reed delta and the living area of the turtles and fish. Large plots of green are sacrificed to the real estate boom. Humans expand their living space, nature must give way. All of this makes me sad and often I wonder: “wouldn’t less be more?” Isn’t the meaning of life to give all that lives a chance to live, whether they are animals, plants, rivers or humans?

This is why I care for cats and dogs in Dalyan, that have been turned into strays by some of the locals that lack sense of responsibility. They simply throw them out in the street. These animals have no supporting lobby, some of them suffer from maltreatment and abuse, have been chased away and are doomed to find nourishment in waste bins. Consequently, many fall ill and only a few survive.

Dear reader, next time when you come to Dalyan, please keep in mind to buy some biscuits or give a donation for the stray animals. With your support you will help them to survive and you will make this planet to a better place. Thank you all for your kindness!

“Be grateful for all you have and for all you won’t need.”

From that perspective we wish you a wonderful time and maybe we will meet at your next visit here in Dalyan. Inshallah!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Hello Rita
    We met about ,4 years ago myself and mhusband Chris…. We visit Dalyan regular, its one of our favourite holiday destination’s.
    We admire all the work you do for the turtle’s ,also all the cats and dogs.. We visit the turtle hospital every time we visit…to see how these beautiful creatures ate getting on, keep up the good work,hope we meet again sometime
    Best wishes Cathryn and Chris x

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