Villager resisting mine construction in Rize faces charges of 'terror propaganda'

Turkish gendarmerie early on June 18 detained a villager who has been protesting a pro-government company's construction of a stone quarry in Rize's İşkencedere Valley. The detention came after the villager slammed the government for issuing monetary fines to locals. He is now facing charges of “making terrorism propaganda.”

Villagers in Rize's İkizdere district have been since April protesting a stone quarry project by a pro-government company.

Duvar English

Turkish gendarmerie early on June 18 raided the house of one of the many villagers who has been resisting a pro-government company's construction of a stone quarry in the Black Sea province of Rize's İkizdere district.

The gendarmerie seized the mobile phone and computer of Dursun Baş, who is facing accusations of “making terror propaganda.” Baş's wife had a nervous breakdown during the detention.

Locals of Rize's İkizdere district have been for weeks now staging sit-in protests at the İşkencedere Valley since Cengiz Holding started its work under a nationwide lockdown on April 23.

They have been saying that they do not want environmental destruction to take place in the region, as they emphasize that thousands of trees, essential in the production of chestnut honey, will be cut for the quarry project.

Reports have said that 80 of the villagers have been recently issued monetary fines on the grounds of “having violated the curfew.” Many have interpreted the authorities' move as an attempt to intimidate them for their ongoing resistance.

Dursun Baş on June 17 criticized these monetary fines, saying: “We are proud of them [fines]. It means that we have scared them so much that they have started to issue fines to cow us into submission. And they will continue to do so.”

Baş questioned why it is only İkizdere locals who are facing such fines when everywhere else is “full to the brim.” “We say that if there is resistance, there is also hope,” he said.