The decision was a result of more than a decade of resistance from local communities in one of UNESCO’s Temporary World Heritage
GLOBAL — One of the most significant campaigns for the climate movement in Turkey just had a major victory in a huge setback for the coal industry that is struggling globally.
Last night, the Supreme Administrative Court decided to overturn the decision of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, and to reject the construction of the Hema Thermal Power Plant. The project was owned by the turkish company Hattat Holding and was supposed to be built in the region of Amasra, Bartin – city that figures in the list of UNESCO’s Temporary World Heritage.
“Together as the Bartin Platform we have worked since 2005. We had one mission: to stop the Hattat Holding plans for a coal-burning power plant. As locals here we knew it was a huge risk of polluting the air we breathe everyday and so had it to be stopped.” says Adnan Soylu, Bartin Platform.
Bartin’s local communities have been fighting for more than a decade against the coal power plant. And their tireless effort was the only thing that stood between the destructive project and the historic city, that is home to a population of 193,000 people.
Local communities have been fighting back in court, mobilizing villagers and organizing a resistance that put the company in a deadlock. Bartin Platform gathered more than 40,000 signatures (almost 25% of the local population) in appeal petitions against the coal plant project’s license, the Environmental Regulation Report and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
“This was not the first legal battle for Amasra. This fight is now 13 years old. Countless heroes took part in this struggle. We built our power as we struggled, and we continued the struggle as we became more powerful. Those who fight to defend their homes might not always win, but those who don’t fight will always lose. This decision showed that the EIA process was illegal and that our claim was correct. We are now relieved to see that our fight was not in vain.” Erdoğan Atmış, Bartin Platform.
“We are thrilled to know that after so many years Bartin’s communities were finally heard. For more than a decade they have been putting up an iconic struggle against the coal power plant that was to be built on the historical, archeological, natural wonder that is Amasra. This struggle has been the perfect example of tenacity. The main motor behind the resistance, Bartın Platform succeeded to bring more than 140 civic initiatives including NGOs, unions, business chambers, political parties of different ideologies together which led to this remarkable victory. This fight will be remembered for decades to come as it shows people power at its best.” says Efe Baysal, 350.org Turkey Campaigner.
The movement against fossil fuels in Turkey is growing fast and is working on many more victories for local communities. Only in the last few days, many wins were accomplished. Early this month, due to the resistance of local groups, the project of a coal-based thermal power plant, which was planned to be constructed on an oak forest in the village of Pınarça in Çerkezköy, Tekirdağ, has been cancelled after a negative EIA report has been issued.
Combined with that, an auction of Alpu coal power plant project in the middle of fertile lands of Anatolia was postponed for the fifth time, and two other power plants in the region were rejected in court due to the pressure from locals.
Nathalia Clark, 350.org Global Communications Coordinator, [email protected], +55 61 9 9137 1229