Serpil Kurtay / Duvar

Turkey’s Environment and Urbanization Ministry approved the construction of a second cyanide pool in the northwestern province of Eskişehir, where locals have been condemning the project since the possibility of construction was revealed.

The construction of the nearly 375,000 square-meter cyanide reserve pool is designated for an area that is close to the residential part of the town and which is also a natural and archaeological protection area.

Ideal for camping, hiking and rock climbing, Eskişehir’s Karakaya District is the site of multiple outdoors sports festivals and trainings by the Turkish Mountaineering Federation and the Interior Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate. 

Local Anadolu University’s Outdoor Sports Club (ANADOSK) member of 13 years Gizem Sunar said that locals initially found the climbers odd, but that they later got used to them. 

“They realized that we look after the region as much as they do,” Sunar said. “Every outdoors enthusiast was loyal to the rules of protection and contributed to the local economy.”

Sunar said that although outdoors enthusiasts, archaeologists and locals protested the construction of the second cyanide pool in the area, their efforts failed to prevent it. 

Sunar sits on a boulder in Karakaya.

“The Karakaya people protested to shut down the first cyanide pool and even blocked off roads but the firm was too strong,” Sunar said. 

The Koza Gold Management Corporation, now managed by a trustee administration, is handled by the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (SDIF), a public legal entity. 

Sunar noted that the road to Karakaya District became a construction site over the years and that the managing company discounted the well-being of endemic species, endangered animals and locals. 

“They have completely surrounded the Karakaya rocks, the historical protection area and the nesting areas of the black vultures. They’re destroying the steppe ecosystem,” Sunar said. 

The construction of the second cyanide pool will pollute the local water reserves, Sunar added. 

Olcar stretches among the boulders in Karakaya.

ANADOSK member of three years, Dilara Olcar said that not only are local authorities disregarding the local community’s outcry against the second cyanide pool, but the gendarmerie also intimidates citizens. 

“This region has suffered enough. We don’t want any more destruction,” Olcar said.