Company fires 100 workers after coal plant project in Soma olive grove halted
SOMA - Doğan News Agency
Private security teams were dispatched to the site in the Soma district of Manisa province just before the olive trees were wiped out on Nov. 7. DHA PhotoKolin İnşaat, the energy firm that felled around 6,000 olive trees in the Aegean village of Yırca last week for the construction of a planned coal power plant, laid off some 100 personnel after a Council of State decision halted the project.
The company dismissed the 100 people, 50 of them security officers and the other half construction workers, after holding a meeting with the construction site head and chief of the security team.
“They made us come here by giving us a guarantee of work and even retirement. They made us attack the villagers. We were used [by the company]. Now we will stay here until we get fair [treatment],” one of the security officers reportedly said while refusing to leave the site.
Meanwhile, the construction workers were removed from the area.
The private security was dispatched to the site in the Soma district of Manisa right before the olive trees were clear-cut Nov. 7. Scuffles erupted when security officers tried to prevent the entrance of villagers into the olive grove. One of the villagers was hospitalized after being hit by a tear gas capsule in the head while four other people were reportedly handcuffed to be dragged outside the olive plantation.
Just hours after the confrontation, the Council of State threw out a decision permitting Kolin İnşaat, one of Turkey’s largest conglomerates, which is known for its closeness to the government, to seize control of the grove. But it was too late, as the company had already uprooted thousands of trees.
A group of young activists visited Yırca on Nov. 8 and helped them plant new olive trees in the same area. The area had been blocked off by the company with barbed wire, but villages removed the wire using tractors, citing the Council of State ruling.