Environmental groups to protest gold mine in north-west Turkey

Ecological activists and environmental groups have launched a campaign against the construction of a gold mine to be run by Canada-based intermediate gold producer Alamos Gold in Turkey’s north-western Çanakkale province.

Grassroots environment activist group Kazdağları Kardeşliği (“Kaz Mountains Fraternity”) is launching a “Water Watch” demonstration in Kirazlı, the mine site where over 195,000 trees have been felled for the project, quadrupling the foreseen number in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (ÇED).

Çanakkale City Council also supports the Water Watch. The demonstration will start on August 1, with activists camping out in the construction site.

Support demonstrations have been announced by activist groups in Istanbul as well, with chambers under the Union of Turkish Chambers of Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), pro-Kurdish left-wing group Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) and grassroots activist groups including Northern Forests Defence issuing calls for action for a demonstration on July 31 in Istanbul.

Alamos Gold is planning to mine gold in Kaz Mountains (or Mount Ida, as mentioned in Homer’s Iliad) using cyanide, a toxic substance that can be deadly in case of spills or leaks. A reported 20,000 tonnes of cyanide will be used in the mine.

Kaz Mountains Fraternity said the gold mine is bound to damage one of the most significant biodiversity hotspots in Turkey. The drainage basin of the Atikhisar Dam, the only source of potable water in Çanakkale, will be directly affected by the mining process. The whole city runs the risk of losing the one water supply in case of accidents.

We call for solidarity! Our movement against Alamos Gold has started. There is a watch close to mine site and we will be there until they stop!#WeAreFriendsofMountIda #UniteAgainstAlamosGold@ExtinctionR @GretaThunberg @HambiBleibt @mininginjustice @MiningWatch pic.twitter.com/7RthKzVKzr

— Kazdağları Kardeşliği (@KazdaglarK) July 28, 2019

Republican People’s Party (CHP) Çanakkale MP Özgür Ceylan said the company was given a licence without regard to the earthquake-prone nature of the area.

A petition started by the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA) has, at the time of publication, over 140,000 signatures.

Hashtags used to promote the Water Watch, #KazDağlarıHepimizin and #SuNöbeti, have amassed over 150,000 tweets.