skip to Main Content




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




Why Sea Turtles? Why protection? Why Dalyan? Why Foundation?

So many questions, so many needs…

Why Sea Turtles?

The Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean is a marine reptile of about 100cm carapace and ~ 80kg weight when adult. Their lifespan is up to 65 years and they mature between their 17. and 30. year. They mate in shallow waters in front of sandy beaches where, during April – June, they go to lay their eggs which are buried in the sand and which in due course are hatched. The hatchlings have to get to the sea, to which they are attracted by the glittering of moon and stars. If they do not make it before the sun comes up, they dry out and/or are eaten by predators. Every female Loggerhead, when mature, comes back to the beach at which they were hatched to lay their eggs. (More about the Loggerhead Turtle see links below)

The sea turtle is an extremely popular species, not just the Loggerhead. The threats to them affect and concern many people. The Mediterranean Loggerhead Sea Turtle has been around for more than 95,000 years but its future is bleak. It needs solicitors and advocates. It needs caretakers. It needs people who love them…

More than 30 years ago “Kaptan” June, as she is respectfully and lovingly called by the people of Dalyan, set her foot on of the main sea turtle breeding beaches in Turkey and was intrigued by the “tank like tracks” she saw on this long spit of sand in front of the Dalyan Delta. Discovering their origin, watching her first Loggerhead laying eggs and falling in love with this rather ungainly, old worldly and so vulnerable creature all happened in a flash. The fight she and her friends and supporters put up against the degradation of the Loggerhead’s habitat – plans were already in place to construct a hotel complex on the beach – is described in her book “Kaptan June and the Turtles” (Inkilap, 2006) .

Why protection?

Threats to the loggerheads are manifold:

  • They are caught in nets and fishing lines and are attacked by fishermen to prevent this happening…
  • In some places, they are killed for their meat; in others, people make cradles and other handcraft products from their carapace…
  • They can be seriously injured or killed by boat propellers…
  • The eggs are dug out by predators like foxes, jackals, feral cats etc…
  • Their hatchlings are threatened by the sun, by gulls and by other predators, including humans if they’re disturbed during the hatching period…
  • Their habitats are destroyed and their nesting beaches degraded by development of nesting beaches and increased human activity on the beach…
  • They can swallow plastic bags, thinking that they’re eating jelly fish, and in some places are fed inappropriately by people on organised “Turtle Spotting” tours

More about threats to Caretta caretta 

Why Kaptan June Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation?

Seeing more and more touristic development and less and less love of nature, Kaptan June, together with friends and supporters well versed in nature conservation and other necessary skills, founded the Kaptan June Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation.

These supporters and well-wishers actively monitor not only the sea turtle but also its nesting ground – in this case, Iztuzu Beach. The future of the turtle is reliant on the ongoing future of its nesting ground.

Kaptan June is deeply grateful to everyone who helped in the campaign to protect the beach, in particular the Turkish Government who in 1988 declard the beach and delta a European Protection Area.

Why Dalyan?

Whilst Dalyan is one of the main breeding beaches in Turkey, there are others along the Mediterranean coast including most importantly Zakynthos in Greece and some beaches in Libya. The Dalyan Delta has the ideal conditions for the Loggerehads – a long delta spit, fine dry sand, shallow water to mate and to give the hatchlings a chance to actually survive.

We think that everybody should first “sweep their own doorstep” and Kaptan June has, together with the help of many supporters and environmentalists, laid a good base for the turtle’s protection. But, the work goes on all the time…

The following links about the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) we found informative:

Back To Top