Turkish enviros block road to mine site

A group of local residents and environmentalist activists blocked the road to a forest area in the Cerattepeli region of Turkey's Black Sea province of Artvin to block preparation of a mining project. A team from the national Forestry Ministry were blocked from entering to demarcate the lease area. Ministry officials attempted to enter the area from a different path, after their first attempt was stopped by the activist roadblock July 2. The activist group is calling itself "300 Cerattepeli" in reference to the legend of 300 Spartans who stood their ground against the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae. (Doğan News Agency, July 2) The 24HourGold website indicates the Cerattepeli (also rendered Cerattepe) project is being developed by Canada-based Teck Resources. 24HourGold also indicates leases in the area similarly awaiting development by UK-based KEFI Minerals and US-based Alacer Gold Corp.

Turkey's Black Sea coast is taregted for a series of mineral and hydro-electric projects that are meeting with opposition from villagers who fear degradation of the yayla, or highland pastures, where they graze their livestock. In April, prosecutors opened a case against 56 villagers in Zile (Tokat province), whose March protests against hydro projects were met with tear-gas from the gendarmerie. They face multiple charges, including "resisting public servants," "insulting," and violating the law restricting demonstrations.

In May 2012, residents of Köknar and Karaçam villages in the Solaklı Valley (Adana province) sought to stop construction of one of the more than 30 hydro projects planned for their small valley. Villagers who tried to block the road to the planned power-plant site were attacked by a battalion of Turkey's paramilitary rural police. (Mongabay, June 22