The English mining company Stratex International PLC, is threatening nature and life in all forms via the gold mine whose construction progresses to date in Fatsa within the boundaries of the city Ordu in Black Sea Region in Turkey. The residents of the area have concluded their 80th day in resistance tents against the mine which uses cyanide to extract gold on a par with their legal fight to end the destruction.
The company appeared in the area in 2013 and started its labor with promises not to harm the nature. Since then it has destroyed thousands of trees in a region of Turkey that needs to be protected due to its supreme ecologic value. The company has assailed and forced itself on the lands of the villagers and has without fulfilling its legal obligations, virtually seized the estates of people who are unwilling to sell them by encircling their land with the construction sight. Moreover it has accumulated the spring water in the area to such an extent that residents of the area have to rely on tankers to supply their need for water. In order to make room for the gold mine 100 acres of forest have already been destroyed in addition to thousands of hazel nut plants in Fatsa, the primary hazel nut reserve of the planet. In addition to these destructions the company has also appealed to alter the legal status of the area which is repleted with tombstones from antiquity and is a first degree protected zone, in order to expand the surface area of the plant.
Starting with villages near the construction sight 12 villages joined in a law suite against the mine. The Turkish chamber of engineers and architects have conducted an examination of the area and the president of the commission of public health and ecology of The Turkish chamber of engineers and architects stated the imminent threat to environment and human life caused by the mine: “In the area that cyanide is used when there is a heavy rain, the chemical reaction caused by the accumulation of cyanide renders the air thick with hydrogen cyanide which is so toxic that even when inhaled in small amounts causes death”. The president also stated that if the company starts to use cyanide in this area which receives a large amount of heavy rain during the rainy season, humans and all life will be threatened not only in areas in close vicinity to the mine but also in areas as far as Ünye, Ordu and many other cities and small towns in Black Sea Region. People of Fatsa are trying to make their voice heard by the company with protests and press releases everyday but to no avail. Neither the company nor the Turkish government takes notice of the growing public resistance to the project.
The people of Fatsa call for attention to the destruction of their habitat with resistance tents.
Many organizations have conferred their support to the resistance tents of the villagers which are at the center of 80 days of peaceful resistance, while the police force is coercing and threatening the villagers to end their protests. İsmet Atar, one of the protesters says: “You have finished my home, my hazel nut, nobody can do so much ill. The director of the mine says you can’t do anything even with the help of the courts. I say why are you messing with my land? The state’s officer puts a gun on my head. I trust no one but my fellow villagers, we will win if we join together.
Halil Bicil, a hazel nut and honey producer says: “When it doesn’t rain there is too much dust. the annual chest nut honey production was 300-400 kg. Now it is 60 kg. The reason for this is that the heavy machinery and the dust caused by the explosions in the construction fields have scared away most of the bees. If bees are finished, people are finished, Bees fertilize the vegetables and fruits. When there are no trees, where will the bee nest, in rocks?”
The villagers are steadfast in their battle against the destruction of the environment and against the cyanide which releases its toxins to the land and to the air. “We will start a hunger strike if necessary, we will not give up”, they say as they await the English firm Stratex International PLC is to stop the destruction of their habitat.
This is only one of myriad projects that threaten agriculture, hazel nut production, natural water resources and forest areas thus the life of all living things in Black Sea Region.
Blacksea Uprising Platform – Fatsa Ünye Nature Protection Platform
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