Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu has targeted the ongoing resistance against a pro-government company's construction project in the Black Sea province of Rize's İkizdere district and referred to it as a “provocation.”
“The plot undertaken in Rize's İkizdere is not only about sensitivity about the stone quarry and environmental issues. Their problems, as is always the case, are with regards to the development of this country. Such provocations will be averted with foresight,” Karaismailoğlu was quoted as saying by daily Birgün on May 11.
His comments came a day after he visited the planned construction site and faced the criticism of locals, who have been for days now protesting Cengiz İnşaat's construction of a stone quarry in İşkencerede Valley.
In the face of the locals' reaction, Karaismailoğlu was heard saying: “We will leave here in less than two years' time.”
The locals then shouted slogans of “We will win by resisting,” which eventually led to the minister's leaving the construction site.
Locals have been protesting the attempts of Cengiz İnşaat, known to have close relations to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to construct a quarry in the area since last month.
The valley is considered to be one of the most precious natural beauties of the region.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has a notorious track record of prioritizing financial profit over environmental protection, with Erdoğan even boasting about turning the country into a construction site.