Aegean town cries for help
Everybody with environmental sensitivity in Turkey agrees fossil fuels like coal should be abandoned and renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power should be considered.
Those who ponder Turkey’s economic future also agree that not distancing the country from fossil fuels will increase our dependence on foreign sources and thus no sustainable development will be achieved.
They are absolutely right.
It is true that we have to focus on wind and solar energy. However, there are some things that need to be looked out for while doing this. These are not done in our country.
In Karaburun, near the Aegean city İzmir, for instance, the local community has been fighting for a long time against Wind Power Plants (RES). All sides of the peninsula have been sieged by RES investments, stone quarries and fish farms, while the living areas of the local population are under huge pressure. Wind turbines are built right next to people’s houses, which in turn alters their quality of life. The legal battle is ongoing.
Now, in another İzmir resort, Çeşme locals are engaged in a similar struggle. The protected area belonging to the Germiyan village and fields that belong to villagers have been expropriated and they have been hastily leased for 49 years with non-transparent methods. At a distance of 700 meters from living areas (the distance should be at least two kilometers), the construction of six new wind turbines has begun.
The business is carried out in an anti-democratic way.
For instance, the local people wake up one morning to see a bulldozer plowing a road in the middle of their field. Without any official declaration made to them. Some of their lands are seized before official records are completed.
The area where this RES project is being implemented is a forested area in the environmental plan; it is a second-degree archaeological and natural protected area. The agricultural fields, olive groves and underground waterways will be negatively affected by the project.
The project is against zoning legislation, against article 17 and 56 of the constitution, against all laws and international pacts.
The local population does not want a RES at the center of the Çeşme peninsula and in their living areas.
They know that if this project is carried out as it is, reserves will be destroyed. The flora and fauna accommodating endemic species will be harmed. They will suffer health problems such as vertigo, ringing in the ears and hearing disorders. They will be subject to noise pollution.
Other options should be considered for these huge projects that cover very wide areas instead of confiscating fertile soil. Local people want the renewable energy projects to be built outside the peninsula.
Their demand is clear: For the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) to cancel the licenses of RES projects and stop the ongoing constructions immediately.
Nobody is telling you to not build RES projects. On the contrary, do them. But do not build them right next to settlements and protected areas. Make the process democratic and lawful.