Turkish Energy Ministry refuses to send int’l report about Akkuyu power plant to court
Tolga Tanış – WASHINGTON
REUTERS PhotoThe Turkish Energy Ministry has refused a court’s request to see the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project in the country’s southern province of Mersin, citing state secret security as the reason.
The IAEA had prepared a mission report about the Akkuyu nuclear project, called the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR), upon the government’s request and delivered it to Undersecretary of the Energy Ministry Metin Kilci and Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) head Zafer Alper on Feb. 20, 2014, by hand.
The report, which contained the agency’s findings on the project, also contained 24 recommendations and 15 proposals for the Turkish government.
The government chose to hide the report from the public despite other similar international reports, which daily Hürriyet first brought to the attention of the public on Dec. 7, 2014.
The INIR became a subject of the court when a total of 86 legal and natural entities, including Mersin’s Chamber of Medical Doctors, the Ecology Collective and the Mersin Bar, filed suit for the stay of execution of a court’s positive rule for the Environment Impact Assessment report (ÇED) regarding the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant project dated Dec. 1, 2014.
The complainants, who filed the Environment Ministry for the ÇED report, demanded the INIR from the ministry, to which Mersin’s 1st Administrative Court responded positively.
The Mersin court asked April 23 for the INIR to be sent to court along with other documents it demanded from the TAEK, the Mersin Metropolitan Municipality and the Gülnar district gendarmerie.
The court’s demand was rejected by the vice president of the Energy Ministry’s Nuclear Project Implementation Department, Sibel Gezer, with an answer dated April 27 that reached the court on May 4.
“I present that the INIR report prepared by the IAEA on the consent of the minister and presented to our ministry is not to be shared with the courts in light of the 20th article of the 2577 numbered Code of Administrative Procedure,” said the answer prepared by Gezer.
The 20th article of the mentioned law states that the prime minister or the related minister can, on grounds that they give an explanation, decide not to give the requested information and documents, which can be related to the state’s security or its higher interests, or about foreign countries.
Cömert Uygar Erdem, the Ecology Collective’s lawyer, said they were not aliens to the secrecy of the reports, adding that by not sending the reports to the courts, they were trying to get the power plant construction to go ahead without an inspection.
“Here, the Ministry has not applied the court’s decision, without giving any reasons,” said Erdem, adding they aimed to extend the judicial process opened against the project.