A documentary on coal power plants
A woman in a village tells her story in the middle of her garden, which used to be right in the middle of paradise:
“This place was our nature. We used to plant our vegetables here. Then they constructed a coal power plant; we can no longer open our window, when we get in the shower, the water that comes of out is black as if we were working in a mine.”
Someone who has been fighting against thermal plants speaks in front of the site where one is slated to be constructed in Orhaneli, Bursa:
“This place was already polluted due to bad industrialization. Now it is much more polluted. Bursa is no longer the green city; it is a gray city.”
A woman in Yırca, a village in the Aegean, says she has traveled all over Turkey as a civil servant. She decided to come back to her village to enjoy fresh air for her retirement. She says she now regrets this decision, adding she does not want a coal power plant.
The documentary “Dark Atlas” has traveled to all the sites where there are coal power plants or plans to build one; from Gerze in Sinop, to Karabiga in Çanakkale; from Aliağa to Zonguldak; from Bartın to Şırnak.
Director Umut Vedat turned his camera on villagers and became their voice. He participated in street demonstrations by the people, met them at night watches, attended meetings and registered their outcry, sadness, joys and accomplishments.
In the documentary, he reveals how the claim that the plants are being built with clean methods are far from the truth and how these plants deplete water reserves wherever they are built.
Efforts in favor of nature
A special place is dedicated in the documentary to the story of Yırca, which has all of Turkey behind it.
It warms you to recall those days when we witnessed the efforts in favor of humans and nature by the village muhtar, Mustafa Akın, and Republican People’s Party (CHP) parliamentarian Özgür Özel.
One can’t hold back the tears watching how women of the village carried some of the thousands of olive trees suddenly cut one night by the company and laid them in front of the governor’s office as if they were laying down the dead bodies of their children.
While all of us remember those days, the documentary makes sure we do not forget the invaluable details we are about to forget.
In addition, similar struggles are continuing everywhere in Turkey. Villagers say basically the same thing in the documentary:
“We cannot breathe. We get sick. We can’t farm anymore. They have their eyes on our mountains, stones, flowers and bugs. We are defending our air, water and soil. This is what we owe to our future generations.”
Some had their cows killed because they drank the waste water of the plant; others’ waters were poisoned by the waste of the plants; some have an acquaintance that has cancer; others have children with breathing problems.
This documentary should be shown in big cities like Ankara and Istanbul without any commercial expectations. Universities should host this documentary. This is how the struggle that takes place locally can reach as many people as possible.