Serpil Kurtay / DUVAR
Alterations to Turkish law has allowed for a shocking 79 percent of Turkey's western Kaz Mountains to be licensed for mining activities, along with 59 percent of the Muğla province and 71 percent of the Artvin province, a recent survey by the Turkish Foundation for Combatting Soil Erosion (TEMA) revealed.
"This is mostly a result of the Mining Law, which has been changed 21 times since 2001, allowing mining on farm land, pasture land and water beds," said TEMA Chairwoman Deniz Ataç.
Ankara also altered laws pertaining to forests, soil protection and mining, further enabling the excessive mining activity in the country, Ataç added.
This allowed for 55 percent of Kaz Mountains' natural protection area to be exploited, as well as 57 percent of Muğla's protection area and 47 percent of Artvin's protection area, the chairwoman said.
"These policies are conducted without detailed planning, long-term projections or regard for future generations' rights," Ataç noted. "Mining will only increase in volume as long as this mentality ensues."
Mining activities often require large volumes of water to be used, which further exacerbates the drought experienced along Turkey's coast to the Mediterranean, also a high-risk area for experiencing the effects of the climate crisis, Ataç said.