Environmentalists probed for hindering mining work in Turkey’s northeast
ARTVİN - Doğan News Agency
DHA photoAn investigation has been launched against six people who allegedly blocked off a road in several upland areas in the Black Sea province of Artvin to prevent mining activities, which several rights groups and environmental organizations say will destroy the region’s ecosystem.
The Artvin Chief Public Proseuctor’s Office launched an investigation against Green Artvin Association head Nur Neşe Karahan, Union of Artvin Forestry Cooperatives (ORKOP) head Hasan Yaşar and Republican People’s Party (CHP) Artvin provincial head İlyas Şahin along with Sinan Aslan, Nihat Köksal and Selim Demirci, charging the six with “restricting working freedom,” after they did not allow employees of a mining company conducting mining activities in an area covering the Cerattepe and Genya regions in Artvin’s upland village of Kafkasör to pass, as part of a resistance lead by local residents and activists for about 20 years.
Karahan said Artvin had a special ecosystem which had to be protected for future generations, adding mining activities would destroy the sustainable livelihood of the region. “Artvin along with all greenery here will perish if mining activities start,” Karahan said.
A large number of people from Cerattepe residents to several NGO’s and environmental rights groups have been holding a sit-in under tents to prevent mining activities. Filiz Dede, the head of the Çayağzı neighborhood in Artvin, noted, “The villages alongside the Çoruh River had been demolished for dam construction in the past.”
The move came less than two months after a large group of people, including local residents, representatives from several rights groups and environmental activists blocked a road leading out to an untouched green area to stop a mining company from starting mining activities in early July.
Unitedly organized on social media, the group gathered in Cerattepe, an upland area at an altitude of 1,800 meters, and put wooden logs on the road to block traffic, preventing mining company employees from entering the area.