People of Ikizdere protest controversial quarry project
The people of Ikizdere in Rize are protesting against a controversial quarry project.
For a week the population in the district of Ikizdere in Rize has been protesting against a controversial quarry project. The ecologically questionable project was started after the expropriation by presidential decree on April 21 in the area of the Işkencedere valley. The residents of the region filed a lawsuit and began guarding the area against a possible project start.
The military police removed a tent erected by the villagers and erected barriers at the entrance to the valley. But the protests and blockades continued, so the excavators and drills had to be withdrawn. The villagers then built a barricade out of beehives at the entrance to the gorge.
The quarry is to be used for the construction of a logistics project by Cengiz Construction, a company that has close ties to the regime and has won numerous contracts for infrastructure projects over the past decade.
Pandemic as a pretext to prevent protests
On Sunday April 25, soldiers broke into the gardens of apartment buildings under the pretext of lockdown. In reality, it was about preventing people from getting to the project site and continuing their protest. Several people were arrested.
"We will not give up our forest"
Yakup Okumuşoğlu, a lawyer and member of the environmental and ecology movement, shared a video from Ikizdere showing several elderly people who had managed to reach the place. “We won't give up our forest,” you can hear people say. The military police then used tear gas against them and arrested several of them.
HDP: "No profit is more valuable than the living space of the village population"
Several opposition politicians went to the area to support the protest. The MP for the People's Democratic Party (HDP), Murat Çepni, said that the people are determined to prevent the project: “Everyone is very determined because they know that if there is a quarry here, they cannot live. No profit or project is more valuable than the living space of the villagers. The water an well being of the people are being destroyed. With every blast that is ignited, water is poisoned."
"Pandemic measures do not apply to corporations"
In a statement the “Ecological Union” said: “While the citizens are fighting for their lives during the pandemic, the government continues to carry out projects of looting and destruction across our country. Curfews and pandemic measures obviously do not apply to corporations."
Together with four other companies from Turkey, Cengiz Holding is one of the ten companies that, according to World Bank figures, won the most public tenders in the world in a decade.