‘Greenpeace is always creating trouble in the Black Sea’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivers a speech every day. But when I heard him utter the word “Greenpeace” the other day, I was all ears.
“We have almost made a revolution in the field of hydroelectric power plants. But we have encountered serious obstruction, such as from Greenpeace and all the others. They have always caused trouble in our Black Sea,” he said.
In other words, Greenpeace is the villain of everything, the mother of evils.
With Erdoğan’s words, the resistance of local communities was somehow made to disappear. For example, not so long ago there was the symbolic name “Havva Ana” who became the representative of local people against a thermal power station in Amasra. Thousands of signatures were collected from people who did not want the plant to be built there.
In other words, in his speech the president did not even mention the Black Sea people trying to protect their environment. He completely ignored them, as if they never existed. It was as if the whole thing was about Greenpeace only.
Why did he do that? Well, perhaps it was only to again lay the blame with “foreign powers.” Blame Greenpeace and wash your hands clean…
What did Greenpeace actually do? It took part in a campaign in the Black Sea town of Amasra, where together with local nongovernmental organizations it opposed the coal-fueled thermal power plant that was planned to be built.
In Amasra, the local population opened the most comprehensive environmental case by collecting 2,100 signatures. In other words, it was a grassroots movement that developed independent of Greenpeace.
There are many NGOs and platforms in the Black Sea region operating in the fields of coal power plants, nuclear power plants and hydroelectric power plants. They include the “Black Sea Rebelling,” the “Fraternity of Creeks” and the “Sinop Anti-Nuclear Platform.”
In the Eastern Black Sea region, entirely local and non-organized movements exist. One of the best examples of the local struggle is “Havva Ana.”
The president did not mention any of these. Of course, it is easier to attribute all these popular movements to Greenpeace. It is easy to disregard the local population’s struggle.
What’s more, the president tried to present a picture where all of Greenpeace’s activities were reduced to Turkey alone, despite the fact that it is conducting active campaigns against climate change in 55 countries across the world.
The kicker and beyond
In Istanbul, meanwhile, the man who notoriously kicked the nurse Ayşegül Terzi on a public bus for wearing shorts has been freed until Dec. 21, when there is a court hearing. The kicker is free and wandering around, while his victim is traumatized. She cannot go out. She is afraid.
What kind of country are we living in?
Remember: There is a court hearing on Dec. 21. Still, I do not have many hopes. As the women of this country we have gone through so much. But we must never give up.
If we do not want to experience another Ayşegül Terzi incident, if we do not want to be kicked for wearing shorts, the court ruling in the case should be strong. It must not be against human rights. It must discourage people.
We must hope that the kicker gets the punishment he deserves on Dec. 21.