Company determines new area ‘without olive trees’ for power plant construction in Yırca

Company determines new area ‘without olive trees’ for power plant construction in Yırca

Company determines new area ‘without olive trees’ for power plant construction in Yırca

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The Kolin Group energy company, which caused unrest in the Aegean locality of Yırca when it cut down more than 6,000 olive trees for the construction of a coal power plant project, has said it has found a new place for a power plant “devoid of olive trees.”

“The alternative space determination works for the coal power plant the Kolin Group aims to build in Soma have been finalized. Accordingly, the new project area has been set as a field near the Türkpiyale and Kayrakaltı villages,” said a statement issued by the public relations firm EGS Media on April 21, adding that the application process for the area change of the project to state authorities had been started. 

“There are no olive trees on the new project area and also no field with olives in the perimeter of three kilometers,” read the following paragraph of the statement, which was underlined to attract readers’ attention. 

More than 6,000 olive trees were cut down in one night on Nov. 7, 2014, for the construction of a power plant in Soma, which was hit by Turkey’s worst-ever mining accident, which killed 301 miners just six months before. The latest development in the case saw the Council of State dismiss the cabinet’s rapid expropriation decision in the village of Yırca on Dec. 26, marking a crucial ruling for locals who lost thousands of olive trees because of the power plant project.

The Hürriyet Daily News was unable to contact EGS Media, which had emailed the announcement. The Daily News reached an official at the public relations department of the Kolin Group, which said it did not know about such an email announcement. 

A few hours later, Kolin Group energy company head Murat Zekeriya Aydın, together with Soma Mayor Hasan Ergene of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), as well as Kolin Group Mining Adviser Mahmut Samer, organized a press meeting in the province of Manisa, where Yırca is located, repeating the same words already stated in the announcement made earlier. 

On the same day as the announcement of the new area, the Council of State’s Plenary Session of Administrative Law Divisions partially approved the Council of State’s 6th Chamber’s decision, which had dismissed the cabinet’s rapid expropriation decision. Deniz Bayram, a lawyer for the Yırca villagers and activist group Greenpeace, said that with the decision, the current project had been cancelled. 

“With this decision the current project has been canceled … It is not possible for the Kolin Group to continue the current project in Yırca,” said Bayram.