Residents of the Gürgen village in the Black Sea province of Rize’s Güneysu district — the hometown of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s father — protested against the construction of a hydroelectric powerplant, occupying the site and forcing companies to remove heavy machinery from the area, according to a report in the daily Evrensel newspaper.
The protest has been ongoing for a month, in opposition to the power plant which will be built over the Gürgen River. Residents appealed to a provincial court to halt the project, and requested that the BORA energy company postpone construction until the court hands down its decision. The company opted to continue construction, angering locals and causing a mounting reaction.
Over the weekend, village residents gathered together and demanded that the company leave the area and take their heavy machinery. “The operation here is against the law and has no legal basis, leave our village, we will not give you permission to take our land and destroy our river,” the villagers said, according to the report.
Following the villagers’ protest, the company’s workers removed the machinery from the field and stream bed. Previously, the Gürgen villagers had released a statement saying they had been tricked by authorities, and that they were told that roads rather than a hydroelectric power plant were being built in the area.