Rize court rejects lawsuit seeking cancellation of Green Road project
RİZE – Demirören News Agency
A court in the Black Sea province of Rize has rejected a lawsuit filed by locals seeking the cancellation of a controversial road project which will connect the highlands of nine provinces with each other as part of plans to develop tourism in the region.
In 2015, locals filed a lawsuit against the “Green Road” project on the grounds that the planned road stretching for some 2,600 kilometers through the Eastern Black Sea Mountains would destruct the environment in the region.
As part of the ongoing case, a group of experts, including engineers, conducted a field analysis in the area in September 2017 to determine if the relevant project was for the “good” of the public. In March this year, a report released by the experts said that the project was not for the “interest of the public” and the region should be protected “without being exposed to any construction.”
Following an evaluation period, the Rize Administrative Court released its verdict regarding the locals’ lawsuit. In its ruling, the court rejected the locals’ cancellation demand, saying that there was “interest of the public” for the relevant road project.
Fırtına (“Storm”) Initiative, an environmental activists group, released a message regarding the court ruling. “The court has messed around with us for three years. When the judicial process was ongoing, the project connecting highlands with each other has been finished,” their message said.
“When we look at the judicial process, we see that the court has procrastinated its ruling regarding the case and has let the ‘Green Road’ to be completed. Because of this, our trust in the justice system has shaken. But still, we have not lost our hopes in the law. Despite this ruling, the judicial process will continue with our appeal application to the Samsung Regional Administrative Court,” it further said.
The “Green Road” project aims to link important highlands and touristic areas across Tokat, Samsun, Ordu, Giresun, Gümüşhane, Bayburt, Trabzon, Rize, and Artvin via a 2,600-kilometer-long road.
Tourism centers, including restaurants, motels, and grass skiing resorts at around 40 different locations along the route, are planned to be built within the framework of the project, which was initiated by the Eastern Black Sea Project Regional Development Administration of Turkey’s Development Ministry (DOKAP).
The project will enable tourists to tour 40 highlands in eight provinces within a week.
The project is expected to increase the number of tourists by five-fold to the Black Sea region. A major part of the road has been completed, with all of the project expected to be completed by 2019.