Turkish gov’t authorizes 372 different mining projects since January

Turkey’s Environment Ministry has approved 372 mining projects since January 2024. It also approved 378 solar power plants and wind farms, mostly to be built in unsuitable forest and agricultural areas.

Duvar English

The Turkish government has approved 372 different mining projects in Turkey since January 2024, according to data from the Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Ministry.

Some of these projects were realized through irregularities and bureaucratic tricks in the environmental impact assessment (ÇED) process, according to the reporting of the daily Cumhuriyet. Companies that started most of the projects in small areas received much easier permits for subsequent expansion.

While construction works expanded in the Northern Forests, one of the largest green areas in Istanbul, projects have enlarged in provinces bordering the Aegean Sea. The government granted approvals one after the other to business groups close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), cronies, and companies with objectionable environmental practices.

For instance, Bahar Mining Company has received permission to expand the mining quarry it operates in the Northern Forests. With this approval, the work carried out on 24.9 hectares will be increased to 37.13 hectares. The company will expand for limestone, sandstone, and crushed stone production in the area within the boundaries of the first-degree natural protected zone. According to the General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks, the area in question is within the "Areas Protected by Law.”

The government has also given the green light for the commencement of mining operations to provide coal to the Yatağan Thermal Power Plant located in the Aegean province of Muğla. This plant, privatized in 2014 and now under the ownership of crony Aydem Holding, have been persisting in its operations despite an official closure directive.

Clean energy, dark money

The government has also approved 378 solar and wind power plant projects. Despite being clean energy sources, the construction of these plants is deemed problematic due to their locations, which are ill-suited as a result of misguided policies adopted in the country. Some of the authorized projects are implemented by companies known to have close ties with the government. 

Eti Bakır -a subsidiary of Cengiz Holding, one of the companies dubbed by the opposition as part of the "gang of five"- plans to install 81,810 solar energy panels on the agricultural lands of eastern Ağrı province's Doğubayazıt district.

YEO company will install 92,593 solar panels on agricultural and pasture land in the Polatlı district of the capital Ankara. Kıroba company will erect 11 wind energy turbines in the forest area in the Aegean Aydın province’s Çine district.