Pro-gov't company's quarry construction project protected by gendarmerie in northern Turkey

Pro-government Cengiz İnşaat's construction of a stone quarry in northern Turkey's İşkencedere Valley is ongoing under the protection of gendarmerie officers, the daily Sözcü reported on April 26. Construction had started in the valley last week under a national COVID-19 lockdown despite locals' protests.

Duvar English

Pro-government Cengiz Holding resumed its construction of a stone quarry in İşkencedere Valley in the northern province of Rize's İkizdere district under the protection of gendarmerie officers, the daily Sözcü reported on April 26.

The company had started construction under a national curfew last week, despite mass protests by locals who were barred from the area.

Gendarmerie officers reportedly deployed pepper spray on locals on April 25 as they protested the construction. Locals were barred from entering the valley once again.

Work machines started uprooting trees in the valley on April 26 as military and gendarmerie officers barricaded the area in the early hours of the morning. 

Construction machines devastated locals' beehives and broke water pipes.

Despite the blockade, locals managed to enter the valley through paths in the woods, however, they again faced the barricade of the gendarmerie officers who placed themselves in front of the construction equipment. 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has a notorious track record of prioritizing financial profit over environmental protection, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan even boasting about turning the country into a construction site. 

Popstar Tarkan expresses solidarity with locals over their protest 

Meanwhile, Turkish popstar Tarkan has expressed his solidarity with locals over their protest against the quarry construction. 

"My dearest hometown Rize, my beloved İkizdere, my beloved townspeople! I hear your painful cries. My heart is also torn apart. I feel deeply your righteous rebellion in wanting to protect your nature and homeland, and I stand with my whole heart by your side in this struggle of yours," Tarkan wrote on his Twitter account. 

"Those who see these massacres proper for our beautiful country, it is now time to stop! Enough!" Tarkan also wrote, sharing video footage from the construction site.