CHP holds march in Turkey’s Tunceli to protest planned hydroelectric plant, dam projects
TUNCELİ – Doğan News AgencyThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) held a march on Sept. 20 in the eastern province of Tunceli, formerly known as Dersim, to protest planned hydroelectric plants (HES) and dam projects in the region’s picturesque Munzur Valley.
Organized by the CHP’s provincial organization, around 1,000 party members gathered at the Cumhuriyet Square in the city, from where they walked for almost three kilometers to the Gola Çetu Park, where the Munzur and Pülümer rivers meet, carrying “No to HES and dams in Munzur” banners. The crowd then left carnations at the Munzur River.
The march was attended by CHP group deputy chairman Engin Altay, CHP Tunceli deputy Gürsel Erol, Istanbul’s Bakırköy district mayor Bülent Kerimoğlu, Istanbul’s Maltepe district mayor Ali Kılıç, Istanbul’s Beylikdüzü district mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, the western province of İzmir’s Bornova district mayor Olgun Atilla as well as many NGO representatives and party members.
Before embarking on the march, Erol delivered a speech, saying the main opposition had now taken up problems in public areas in the face of “wrong policies” of the government.
“The government has started to follow many wrong policies in the recent years. In the face of these wrong policies, we, as the CHP, have started to go to public areas and make our voices be heard. The people of Tunceli have become an example in Turkey in every area. We are raising our voices against the hydroelectric plants and dams planned to be constructed in the Munzur [Valley], which the people of Dersim and Alevis consider holy and a faith center,” Erol said.
“We have gathered here today for Munzur to be free, for it not to be shackled, for our holy places not to be constructed with HES; and we will utter our reaction. Munzur Father is our belief center, our holy center. We will never allow a dam or HES to be constructed on Munzur. I will take bureaucratic steps for the HES not to be constructed on Munzur,” Erol vowed.
Also speaking before the march, Altay also stressed on the importance of Munzur’s sacredness. “We are here today to talk about a Munzur that is considered by all, by the whole of Turkey, as holy. Those who have no respect for people’s belief places, have no positive impact on societies,” he said.
Altay accused the government of politicizing people’s “beliefs, ethnicities and lifestyles.” “What the country is suffering from is caused by these three things. The bloodshed is because of these three things. The economic problems in our country are caused by these three things,” he said.