Turkish gendarmerie tear gas villagers for resisting coal mine project in Akbelen Forest, 8 detained

Turkish gendarmerie have intervened against villagers and activists for resisting the cutting of trees for a coal mine in southern Akbelen Forest and pepper sprayed them. Eight people, including a lawyer, have been detained during the intervention.

Photo courtesy of daily Evrensel.

Duvar English

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?”

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.