Forests are cut down for many reasons every year in the world. One of the reasons is to make the land available for other uses. 7.3 million hectares of forest, which is roughly the size of country of Panama, are lost each year according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The world’s rain forests could completely vanish in one hundred years at the current rate of deforestation. As this is one of the most important environmental issues globally, it is also a great problem for Turkey, which has a remarkable diversity of wildlife, due to its wide variety of habitats and unique position between three continents and three seas.
ISTANBUL THIRD BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION
Istanbul is a very special city with its geographical position and nature habitats. The forests in the north of Istanbul have a great chance to increase prosperity for the city and its inhabitants.Because they increase the city’s air and the quality of life. They include basins of the rivers that used for city’s drinking water requirements. These forests also has an important place in bio- diversity and is one of the world's most important bird migration concentration areas. But is that enough to fill one’s pockets?
The third bridge and road construction already started in 2013. The trees are being cut at a speedy rate to make way for the third bridge and the highway that will connect the new bridge. According to the official data, 19.6 kilometers of the road and 17.8 kilometers of merging roads will pass through the forest. A width of 110 meters is being cleared for the road. According to calculations based on these measures, 1,610,000 trees will be cut when the bridge is complete.
It is said by the project owners that the bridge will greatly reduce the traffic. But according to experts, this project will rather create traffic outside their own and will only lead to other construction activities around. The new construction will cause the destruction of heart of Istanbul. It was supposed to serve transit traffic, which is in total the share is even below three percent. Therefore, the project can only be called as a rant project.
Since the very first days, many people and organizations started campaign against these arbitrary projects. With the third bridge,highway and third airport contructions; the result will be irreversible, as many people believe. Those people want their concerns to be heard. This time, it is people’s duty to be a breath for them.
ARTVIN’S BELOW IS MORE PRECIOS THAN UNDERNEATH
Cerattepe/Artvin is located in northern part of Turkey. It has been 20 years since the mine prospectors fixed their eyes on the place that is the world’s one of the oldest and richest by it’s flora.Currently in the area many drilling proses are going on. In 2012 Cengiz Holding, which has a bad reputation with their litigation proces, got warrant for a project in the area. But this year, the local administrative court canceled the environmental impact assessment report. After few months, the same project got permisson from General Directorate of Forest. Following these events, with the support of ‘Union of Turkish Bar Association’ and ‘Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects’, 61 lawyers and 760 claimants pressed a charge. This is the biggest environmental lawsuit in Turkish law history.
The number of chopped trees only for this copper mine project’s underground production is 50.300. For the large field ctivities of project this number will increase, which was not included on the reports.
Today, the locals are guarding on the site and worried that operators can cut down trees in the middle of the night.
Locals guarding on the site.
COAL PLANT ON OLIVE FIELDS
Yırca/Soma is a small village located in western Turkey with most of its people making their living from olive cultivation. Not longer than after the coal mine disaster in Soma, urgent decision of expropriation of olive fields to build a coal plant caused a reaction by locals.Near the village, other two coal plants are already active and cousing health problems. People brought this new project to trial on September 2014. Before the state council’s ruling, the field was hedged by a company. After 52 nights of guarding by local people, a brawl accured between constractor’s private security and locals.After that, More than 6,000 olive trees were cut down in one night on 7th November 2014. Just after few hours, the council of state stoped the project. With this decision the on-going project was canceled in Yırca. According to the environmental impact assessment report, if the project was to be completed, some 200 cubic meters of mostly pine trees would have eventually been cut down too.
The legal battle on the urgent expropriation decision of the location of the plant ended with a rare victory for locals and activists. However, the autherized people are accused by locals that no one defended their rights and protected their fields in this incident.
Early this year, people from all around Turkey started to help Yırca villagers to plant their olive trees again.Starting on October 2015; Greenpeace Turkey, which were with the people right from beginning, will build solar energy panels for the village with the collected money from their campaign.
Olive trees cut down by Kolin Construction.
Locals victory posing after the council of state’s decision.
Istanbul Third Bridge Construction
Gürhan Savgı.Mega construction projects drive deforestation in town.Today's zaman.Last Update 14.06.2013http://www.todayszaman.com/national_mega-construction-projects-drive-deforestation-in-town_320652.html
Gold and copper mine projects in Artvin
Black Sea higlanders form 3 km human chain against gold, copper mine project. Hürriyet Daily News. Last updated 22.07.2014. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/black-sea-highlanders-form-3-km-human-chain-against-gold-copper-mine-project.aspx?pageID=238&nid=69449
Locals protests mines in northern Turkey, tension rises with gendarmerie. Hürriyet Daily News. Last updated 09.07.2015 . http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/locals-protest-mines-in-northern-turkey-tension-rises-with-gendarmerie-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=85219&NewsCatID=340
Report of Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects about Cerattepe in Turkish. Released on December 2014. http://www.tmmob.org.tr/sites/default/files/cerattepe.pdf
Power plant project in Soma
Company detemines new area ‘without olive trees’ for power plant construction in Yırca.Dogan News Agency.22.04.2015. http://www.dha.com.tr/company-determines-new-area-without-olive-trees-for-power-plant-construction-in-yirca_914969.html
Ruling on power plant project in Soma olive grove ‘leaked to company’. 09.11.2014.Hürriyet Daily News. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ruling-on-power-plant-project-in-soma-olive-grove-leaked-to-company.aspx?pageID=238&nID=74087&NewsCatID=340
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