Locals protest mines in northern Turkey, tension rises with gendarmerie
CİHAN photoTension has risen between gendarmerie forces and locals in the Black Sea province of Artvin, with local activists trying to prevent untouched forest in the region from being cleared for new mining facilities.
A group of locals, brought together under the guidance of the Green Artvin Association, blocked the road leading to forest in the Cerattepe region of the northwestern province of Artvin, preventing the Forestry Ministry and mining company officials, who came together with security forces, from entering the site to deliver construction materials for the copper and gold mines.
The group included Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) provincial heads and the Artvin Bar head, while shopkeepers shut down their shops to protest the project.
Locals who heard of the protest after it began tried to reach Cerattepe to join the group, but were halted by gendarmerie forces.
Green Artvin Association head Nur Neşe Karahan said they had been standing guard since June 21 and were exercising their “legal resistance and protection rights.”
“We learned that officials from the Forestry Ministry and the mining company wanted to deliver to the construction site. So everyone left their jobs and came to the area,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported Karahan as saying.
“The people of Artvin are exercising their right to defense and protection. This is a legal right. Our legal process had not yet ended,” she added.
Meanwhile, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş expressed solidarity with locals in Artvin via Twitter on July 9.
“To the people of Artvin who are resisting for Cerattepe! Know that you are not alone. The one who resists wins,” read Demirtaş’s tweet.