Turkish court rules against marble quarry project planned for sacred mountain of Alevis

A Turkish court has canceled an environmental clearance for a marble quarry planned to be built in the Yılanlı Mountain in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas. The court emphasized that Alevis consider the region sacred.

Hazal Ocak / DUVAR

A Turkish court has ruled against a marble quarry project that was planned to be built in the Yılanlı Mountain in Kangal district of the Central Anatolian province of Sivas. The Yılanlı Mountain is considered sacred by Alevis. 

The project received a positive Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED) report by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change on Nov. 25, 2020. 

ÇED is a process in which significant impacts of a particular project or development on the environment are determined.

The residents of the region applied to the court for the annulment of the environmental clearance as the project area is forest land and is considered sacred by Alevis. 

“Emotional and religious commitment to geography in the Anatolian culture is like the dependence of a plant or tree to the soil,” said a report penned by experts as part of the lawsuit.

The expert's report further said that the visitors of the Mountain will be adversely affected by marble extraction. 

The Sivas Administration Court overseeing the case said that there were four water sources very close to the project and none of them were mentioned in the ÇED report. Also drawing attention to the amount of dust that will come out of the marble extraction process, the court annulled the positive ÇED report in a September 2021 ruling.

The Council of State, Turkey's highest administrative court, approved the local court's decision on Dec. 14, 2021.