Eleven professional bodies spoke out in support of pro-government Cengiz Holding's construction of a stone quarry in the Black Sea's İşkencedere Valley, where locals have been protesting the project for weeks despite a brutal crackdown from the state.
Locals of İkizdere district have been staging sit-in protests at the İşkencedere Valley since work started on the stone quarry under a nationwide lockdown on April 23.
The Rize Bar Association and the Rize Trade and Industrial Chamber Directorate were among the 11 organizations that signed a statement in the Hürriyet daily on May 19 that supported the stone quarry project.
"Similar groups turned trees into excuses and started the Gezi Park protests," the statement said about the 2013 protests that started as a result of a project to build a shopping mall on Istanbul's central Gezi Park.
The organizations said that non-governmental organizations have been falsely claiming that the stone quarry project would ruin the wooded area in the valley and that any protesters of the project were not motivated by environmental concerns.
"We all know that similar groups started the Gezi Park protests and started an uprising that destroyed the environment for days," the organizations said about the protests.
The supporting organizations also claimed that deputies of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) had visited the İkizdere locals' resistance with nefarious intentions, and unrelatedly referred to the fact that the HDP hadn't condemned the U.S.' acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide.
The organizations said that they wouldn't want environmental destruction to take place in the region, but that filling in the valley with concrete was the only solution to create investment opportunities.