Villagers oppose mine construction in paradise valley
Following a mining company’s attempt to construct a quarry in the Black Sea province of Rize’s İkizdere district, a group of villagers has started a protest against the construction in a bid to save a dense forest cover in the area considered one of the most precious natural beauties of Turkey’s northeast.
Gendarmerie forces have blockaded all roads leading to the construction site from neighboring settlements and İkizdere’s Cevizlik village, where its residents initiated a protest on the ground that it will hurt the national beauty of the environment and the continuity of ecological balance in the area.
Locals in İkizdere oppose the opening of a stone quarry in the region decided to extract nearly 16 million tons of stone for filling an area near the seashore where the Logistics Center and Port project will be built in Rize city.
Arguing that the natural beauty of the green valley and their villages will disappear due to the construction, residents continue to protest by keeping a watch over the area, saying, “We are not against the investment, but the stone quarry is chosen in the wrong place.”
On guard in the region known as İşkencedere Valley, locals on April 25 tried to block heavy-duty vehicles brought for construction activities in response to intervention by gendarmerie forces.
Noting that they produce tea and honey in their villages, locals stressed the quarry should open in an area that is less costly, closer to the port and would not harm nature.
“Our life is here. We have tea gardens, we have bees, and we have a water source here. All of our income is from here. We’ll be devastated if the quarry is built,” said Yüksel Baş, a villager residing in the area.
“We are here to protect our property. We will keep watch here day and night. We will not give way here; we will not even give a stone. They’ll be tired, but we won’t be,” said Ayşe Baş, another villager.
Footage showing gendarmerie’s intervention against the villagers also draw reaction on social media as environmentalists launched the hashtag #İkizdereTasocağıOlmasın (There should be no quarry in İkizdere) late April 25 on Twitter.
Meanwhile, detailed information and environmental impacts were included in a report in the project introduction file regarding the quarry slated to open in Cevizlik village.
According to the report, the material to be taken from the quarry will be used in the construction, maintenance and repair activities of the port and road construction projects in the region.
The material loosened by the blasting technique at the quarry’s site will be removed by construction equipment and used directly in construction works without being subjected to crushing.
The roads and transportation paths inside the mine will be irrigated regularly and dust formation will be minimized, according to the report.