Elvan Yılmaz / DUVAR

A tender has been opened for mine drilling projects in the Mehmetdede Tekke village in the central Anatolian province of Çorum by Turkey’s General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration (MATA). 

Following the establishment of a construction site in the area by the firm that won the tender, Turtam Teknik Sondaj, villagers have protested the project on the grounds that it will hurt local agricultural production and reduce the amount of land used for agricultural purposes. 

Mehmetdede’s muhtar (village headman) Ali Üremiş also stands in firm opposition to the drilling: 

“Gold is searched for with cyanide, and cyanide is harmful to the earth and underground water. Our village’s source of income is farming,” Üremiş said, reiterating that the mining in the area would have a negative effect on the village’s fields and gardens. He also emphasized that a dam lake was just 100 meters away, and the use of cyanide would be harmful for the lake’s fish and for the water used for the fields in the village.

Ali Üremiş

“We will not allow them to play with the future of our village. It’s not just our village. Other villages in the region that will also be harmed from this mine search. We will conduct demonstrations together with the other villages. No matter what, we will not allow our water to be polluted,” Üremiş said. 

While the governor of Çorum, Mustafa Çiftçi, claimed to have no knowledge of the matter, the provincial head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Mehmet Tahtasiz said that they were following the issue closely.