Mine work starts in northern Turkey as protests end

Mine work starts in northern Turkey as protests end

Mine work starts in northern Turkey as protests end

AA photo

Caterpillars have started to prepare an environmentally important area in northern Turkey for construction of a mine site that saw two-day protests against turning a lush landscape into a gold mine, the state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

Having faced a determined resistance from hundreds of protesters on the past two days, caterpillars owned by the Cengiz Holding, a Turkish group of companies operating in the construction industry, started preparation work early Feb. 18 to construct a gold mine in Cerattepe, an upland area 1,700-meters-high in the Black Sea province of Artvin, with a company of gendarmerie forces three kilometers away from the construction site.

The construction plan drew two-day protests where police and gendarmerie forces stepped in and fired tear gas at protesters, who prevented the caterpillars deployed to the area for pre-mine work. The area on which the mine is to be constructed is considered by many to be one of the most environmentally important in the country with its wet climate creating a lush environment.

Environmental activists and representatives from advocate groups have staged demonstrations in several provinces such as the Mediterranean province of Antalya as well as Istanbul and Ankara.

Doğan News Agency reported that a group of protesters, including cyclists, staged a demonstration in downtown Antalya late Feb. 17 to express solidarity with hundreds that were subjected to tear gas in Cerattepe earlier the same day.

“We have been resisting over the last 20 years. We understand that the intervention will be different today. We do not have any guns or armament. We defend living creatures’ right to live with our bodies,” Doğan News Agency quoted Green Artvin Association head Neşe Karahan as saying as she spoke on Feb. 17.