Friday, October 01, 2010

Local Reactions to Dam Construction in Turkey


Dear Energy Professional, Dear Colleagues,

We had that long-term concern for locals who could react/ respond in rouge way  since state/ public institutions are doing the same- See the report from Milliyet below.

As construction preparations initiated on Thursday with the soil drilling operation of the dam in Tunceli Munzur Valley, the nearby local environmentalists gathered in the region to prevent the construction, and they attacked the workers and the  drilling machineries.

Local Mayor Mrs. Edibe SAHİN (BDP) said, "We shall have no pity/ no mercy/ in no way to engineers, workers and laborers who would come here to work here. Because we will not be so patient, "she said.
Munzur Valley Dam construction is initiated in the region by bringing the drilling machine started to run. A private security company is employed to avoid the possible reactions and also local Gendarmerie teams in the region took action.

At Dedeagac village centre which is situated 10 miles from Tunceli, a group of environmentalists moved to the region. By using voice broadcasting, public announcements in the city centre were asked to go to the region.

Upon call on the region, the number of those environmentalists reached to 700 in number. People gathered at front of drilling machine and tried to shut down and prevent the operation, and even tried to destroy the machine. Those groups are blocked but military police did not intervene against demonstrators.

Mayor of Tunceli Mrs. Edibe Sahin came to the region to meet with company officials. Company officials informed that they will retrieve their drilling machinery and the demonstrators calmed down upon their commitment to stop drilling work.

Mayor Mrs. Edibe Sahin said that they will not allow the construction of hydroelectric dams on Munzur Valley. She said "People of Tunceli are in one body in this regard to stop any construction activity."

 "We appeal here that we are committed to stop this dam construction. We shall not let anyone to build any dam in Dersim /Tunceli). Today upon news, people gathers in 5 minutes to react any drilling activity for construction of dam in Munzur valley. If people are quiet and calm so far, the reason is due to promises given to us. We are advised that the situation will be reviewed for Munzur Valley, for construction of the hydro the dams in the region. People of Tunceli are told that dams will be built if necessary.  Our people are waiting with hopes that dams will not be built. Our patience should not be  tested any more. Today the situation here is a reflection of accumulated public anger. Everyone in Dersim (Tunceli) is organised, and we are all in one body, together we shall respond. After all, we shall have no mercy/ no pity / no other way here for those who would come here to work in dam construction as engineers or workers. After all, we shall not so be patient. Here each dam construction will create new immigration; we shall not let any more immigration, no more displacement again. In our history, we had that experience. Today new dams will not be constructed, we will not migrate, and we will not let local people to migrate. In order to do this, regardless of anyone who would come here, every one of employee should consider that. People's patience is about to end, and local people may never so reasonable. "

The well-known local environmentalist lawyer Mr. Baris Yildirim who opened court cases, said that all the dams on the Munzur Valley are not legal.

He said, “All dam construction which is planned in the Munzur Valley area of national park is illegal. We presented those facts to the public in reports. Ministry of Environment and Forests, officials within Munzur Valley National Park were not aware of any of the dams as stated in an official letter to us.  Without long-term development plan which would be prepared, reviewed and approved for the valley, ministry can not allow the construction of these dams.  This is not legal. State should protect and defend the national park. On the contrary we advocate as citizens against the state. Where in the world there is such a thing? No matter what will come out, we shall no  let dams constructed in Munzur Valley. "  

This is a new era of local environmentalists to respond to rogue state initiatives.

EIA approvals, environmental controls are too important and should not be left only to the care and regulations of the government agencies. 

Turkey's energy policy should not be “more energy and electricity generation no matter what the cost to the nearby environment” as the public institutions have now been implementing.  

Our energy policy should be, “to generate energy and electricity in respectful to the environment, with maximized use of local fuel, with best local design engineering, fabricated with maximized local participation by creating local employment, installed by the local contractors, with local labour, built at environmentally appropriate areas”.   With best regards

Haluk Direskeneli

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