Turkish gendarmerie on July 24 detained at least eight people, including a lawyer, for protesting and resisting the cutting of hundreds of trees for a coal mine project in the Akbelen Forest in the Aegean Muğla province’s Milas district.
At 5.30 a.m., several gendarmerie officers and riot control vehicles with water cannons (known as TOMAs) were dispatched to the area and trees were started to be cut down.
Locals in the İkizköylü village wanted to go to the area and stop the works, but they faced the barricade and brutal intervention of the gendarmerie. Activists were sprayed with tear gas and at least eight of them were detained as of July 24 afternoon. A villager shouted to the gendarmerie, “What did you turn my village into?”
Akbelen'de toprağını savunan köylüye jandarma biber gazı sıktı#AkbeleneDokunma— Evrensel Gazetesi (@evrenselgzt) July 24, 2023
Akbelen Ormanı'nda ağaçları korumak isteyen köylüler jandarma barikatına yüklendi, Av. İsmail Hakkı Atal ve İkizköy Çevre Komitesi Üyesi Hasan Yorulmaz gözaltına alındıhttps://t.co/A5B6EuG3zD pic.twitter.com/eeo67KI9GX
What had happened?
Since 2019, the 740-decare Akbelen Forest and the İkizköylü village have been threatened by plans to extend coal mines. In 2021, the locals filed a lawsuit against the company YK Energy, a joint affiliate of IC Holding and Limak Holding, which is known to have close ties with the Turkish government, for the annulment of the project.
During the judiciary process, courts have several times ruled for the suspension of the coal mine project, but the company rejected to abide by these court rulings.