Police detain ecological activists protesting gold mine project in northwest Turkey

Turkish police detained eight ecological activists protesting the construction of a gold mine in Turkey’s north-western Çanakkale province, left-leaning Turkish news site Sendika.org reported.

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

Alamos has been wreaking havoc in the area as it prepares for the construction of a gold and silver mine. Over 195,00 trees have been felled, four times the amount indicated in the environmental impact assessment report approved by the ministry (ÇED) to make way for the mineral tenure.

Eight activists have started a march from Istanbul to Turkey's capital Ankara, adopting the slogan "Stop the massacre in Kaz Mountains", and Turkish police detained the protestors at their first stopover destination in Istanbul's Maltepe district, according to Sendika.org.

Following the reports on environmental damage by Alamos, grassroots environment activist groups, including Kazdağları Kardeşliği (“Kaz Mountains Fraternity”), 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 launched protests in several cities across Turkey.