Mining restarts on ‘sacred’ mountain in Turkey

Mining restarts on ‘sacred’ mountain in Turkey

ANTALYA – Doğan News Agency (DHA)
Mining restarts on ‘sacred’ mountain in Turkey

DHA photo

An Antalya court has revoked its decision to stop a mining company from running a marble quarry on Dur Mountain (Dur Dağı), the resting place of holy tombs considered to be sacred by Alevis, following a change in the court board’s composition.

The court had ruled that the company was damaging the nature and sacred places of Alevi community and stopped the mining work in July 2011.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) Antalya deputy and case lawyer Gürkut Acar said the firm and the officials were using mining as an excuse to damage the sacred space.

“This ruling means damaging the vicinity, which is considered sacred by millions of people. This is a big disregard to millions of believers. These kinds of incidents will inflict wounds on society in the long term,” Acar said.

Two members of the three-member board changed after the ruling last year that ordered a stop to the mine’s operations, according to reports. Following a change in the board’s composition, the case was renewed. One member refused to remove the ban, but the other two members voted in favor of again allowing the quarry to operate.

Nusret Gürgöz, a lawyer for the locals, said the new ruling was surprising because the previous ruling was taken according to a 66-paged expert report with the consensus of the court’s board. Gürgöz also said the ruling was unlawful and that they would appeal to the Council of State.

Alevis consider Mountain Dur to be sacred not just because it contains the tombs of influential Alevi sages such as Abdal Musa and Kaygusuz Abdal, but also because respect for nature and humans is a central tenet of the Alevi faith.

Abdal Musa is credited by Alevis for reorganizing and institutionalizing many aspects of the Alevi faith in the 14th century after they suffered from persecution in the previous century.