Call for international solidarity to stop the massacre in Akbelen forest in Turkey!

We re-post the call from the Pollen Ecology group in Turkey

Limak and IC İçtaş Holding, fully supported by the Turkish government, is now cutting down all the hundred years old trees and destroying the whole ecosystem in the 740-decare section of the Akbelen Forest (in Milas district of Aegean Muğla province) to expand a coal mine that will provide lignite to the Yeniköy and Kemerköy thermal power plants.

The local villagers of İkizköy, located next to Akbelen, and ecology activists from across the country have been defending the trees for four years against these two energy companies planning to destroy the Akbelen Forest to expand a coal mine nearby. They have put up a legal struggle while occupying the forest to form a local resistance for two years already.

İkizköy villagers spent two years of their 4-year struggle in the resistance watch. The struggle of the İkizköy people to defend their lands, olive groves, and Akbelen forest is a struggle against the destruction of life for the profits of corporations. The resistance of the people of İkizköy is a struggle against the domination of food, water, soil, forests, valleys, pastures, and air by corporations and their transformation into coal-black corpses.

This struggle is a struggle between life and death. The rule of capital on earth has created ecological devastation, such as climate crisis, extinction of species, pollution of water, extreme heat, floods, droughts, and pandemics. And against these destructions, resistance for life continues in every inch of the earth.

The government and its supporters, who emerged victorious from the elections, want to use the results of the polls as a source of legitimacy to do whatever they want. They are trying to enslave society with dual law and state-of-emergency methods. The source of rebellion and resistance is not the law. We defend the interests of the people and nature against their claims. This is the soil of resistance. Let’s grow and spread the resistance… We will win if we resist. Let’s not give the Akbelen forest.

We need your solidarity to strengthen our call to end this massacre on ecosystems and to end fossil fuels. What is happening is indifferent from what is happening in every country due to extractivism, fossil fuels, and neoliberal policies. We are in the middle of the climate crisis due to this system and are in code red! Together if we resist, we have the power for system change.

Below, we have made some hashtags for the Twitter hashtag campaign tonight. We will start sharing them from all accounts today (25th July) at 20:30 CET time. We appreciate your solidarity!

With Solidarity,

Thank you,

Polen Ecology Collective

Hashtag Example:

@LimakEnerji , @IcIctas , and the government of Turkey are committing a massacre in Akbelen forest to extract coal while the world is in the middle of wildfires and extreme weather due to fossil fuels. Your extractivist, neoliberal policies are the culprit of the climate crisis!


#StopAkbelenMassacre #EndFossilFuel  @ikizkoydireniyo

@LimakEnerji , @IcIctas , and the government of Turkey are committing a massacre of Akbelen Forest to extract coal for their thermal power plant. Local villagers, life defenders are being unequally attacked by the police.


#StopAkbelenMassacre #EndFossilFuel @ikizkoydireniyo

Background Information:

The first thermal power plant in Muğla was established in 1982 in Yatağan. Yeniköy and Kemerköy, thermal power plants, were commissioned in 1986 and 1993, respectively. These plants were not subjected to any “Environmental Impact Assessment” (EIA) process. Because there was no EIA regulation in those years, the power plants polluted nature and life without complying with environmental protection laws until 2020.

In 1997, 3 power plants were ordered to be shut down by the court 1997, and the Council of State approved this decision. However, the plants were not shut down. The closure decision was upheld by the ECHR in 2005. The plants continue to operate and pollute.

During the privatization process in 2014, Yatağan TS, Aydem Holding, Yeniköy and Kemerköy Thermal Power Plants, and Lignite Mining Enterprise were given to the partnership of “Gang of Five” members LİMAK Energy and IC İÇTAŞ Energy. The privatized power plants were allocated 21,000 hectares in Yatağan and 23,000 hectares in Milas as lignite mines. Forty-seven percent of the operating license areas consisted of forest land.

As the coal mines of thermal power plants expanded, they swallowed forests, olive groves, and villages. Sixty villages/neighborhoods are within the coal operation license areas to supply coal to thermal power plants. So far, all eight towns and a significant part of 15 villages have been destroyed by coal mines. The remaining 37 villages/neighborhoods within the license area are threatened by destruction.

According to Article 20 of Law No. 3573 on the Improvement of Olive Groves and Grafting of Wild Olives, first issued in 1939, it is forbidden to establish any facility that emits chemical waste, dust, or smoke within three kilometers of olive groves, except for olive oil factories. But who cares?

When the plants in agricultural production around the Yatağan Power Plant were analyzed, it was found that the amounts of zinc, lead, cadmium, and copper heavy metals in carrot and sesame samples were above the permitted values for vegetables.

In Muğla, which suffers from thirst, Yatağan Power Plant consumes 7.5 times the total urban water consumption of the Yatağan district, with a population of 45,000, and Yeniköy Power Plant consumes 2.5 times the annual urban water consumption of the Milas district, with a population of 132,000. Who cares?

According to the Health and Environment Alliance’s 2022 report, the three thermal power plants in Muğla caused more than 68,000 premature deaths, more than 43,000 premature births, and more than 455,000 cases of bronchitis in children from their first commissioning until 2020.

And this…

In 2021, the Yeniköy and Kemerköy Thermal Power Plants in Milas were paid 260 million liras from public funds only within the scope of the capacity mechanism. “The forest is the homeland,”; and the homeland is their companies’ coffers…

The coal mine of the thermal power plant, which wants to continue its operations until 2043, has reached the border of the Akbelen forest. Işıkdere, one of the three neighborhoods in the İkizköy region, was evacuated in 2018 for the coal mine of the thermal power plant. This time, the villagers who moved from Işıkdere to Karadam Neighborhood sent a notice to vacate this neighborhood.

The Akbelen Forest at the foot of their village was included in the General Directorate of Forestry’s rejuvenation planning and designated an industrial plantation area for 2019. The forest was offered to the company on a golden platter. The company took the necessary permission in 2020 to convert this forest into a mining site.

İkizköy people decided not to leave their villages after the expropriation notifications they received in 2019. While the legal process of Akbelen Forest, which was included in the mining area, continued, the Forestry Regional Directorate teams were prevented by the villagers from cutting the forest on April 22-23, 2021. As of July 17, 2021, they started a vigil in the tents they set up in Akbelen Forest.

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