Özay Gözetepe / DUVAR

Locals in the Antalya district of İbradı have united in opposition to a planned marble quarry project in the area, after the mayor announced late last month that a cedar forest in the district’s Karamıklı village was slated to be cut down to make way for the project.

“We will not allow the pillaging of our water resources. In defiance of this pillage, I am inviting all of our people to the region as of tomorrow. The people of İbradı will not permit a marble quarry to be built here,” said mayor Serkan Küçükkuru. The mayor’s call prompted both locals and people from outside the area to protest the marble quarry.

The İbradı district, a lush area home to just under three thousand people is nestled in the Taurus mountains. In 2017, a separate firm attempted to build a marble quarry in the same area, and the Antalya governorate determined that the firm did not need to obtain an environmental impact report (ÇED) prior to starting the project, on the grounds that the area in question covered less than 25 hectares. However, it was determined that the area actually spanned 100 hectares, and the project was halted in court.

Mayor Küçükkuru said that the current firm has nevertheless obtained permission from the relevant government ministries to go ahead with building a marble quarry in Karamıklı village, in spite of the court decision that halted the other firm’s project.

It is not the first time this summer that people in Turkey have demonstrated against a project that is said to have devastating environmental consequences. In August, thousands assembled in the Kaz Mountains in the province of Çanakkale, protesting a gold mine project operated by a Canadian company that has already resulted in the cutting of tens of thousands of trees. Activists say that the number of trees that the company cut down was four times higher than the figure given in an environmental impact report.