* Photo and News: Nature Association
Click to read the article in Turkish
The villagers took legal action to protect their olive trees in the face of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) decisions given for the geothermal resource explorations in the Orhanlı village in İzmir’s Seferihisar.
The villagers of Orhanlı have won the lawsuit. Releasing a statement about the issue, they have expressed their determination to keep struggling against all types of geothermal power plant projects.
Upon the lawsuit filed by the villagers, the İzmir 3rd Administrative Court appointed and expert and the expert prepared a report.
The report found that the project had the risk of polluting groundwater and underground water, crops and soil and the place chosen for drilling was not right. Referring to the fact that the drilling wells were close to residential areas, the expert report indicated that the heavy metals and gases to be emitted would harm nature as well as the public health.
Based on these findings, the court concluded that the geothermal power plant project could not be realized outside the scope of EIA Regulations.
Speaking on behalf of the villagers, Orhanlı Village Culture, Youth and Sports Club Association Chair Hasan Tahsin Akçil has indicated that they have welcomed the court decision, briefly adding the following:
“We, the residents of the Orhanlı village who make a living by olive cultivation, have become very happy hearing the decision of cancellation given by the İzmir 3rd Administrative Court. With its hundreds of years old olive trees, clean air and water, our village is one of the rare villages in Turkey from which people do not emigrate.
“The olive oil that we produce has been certified as one of the most delicious olive oils of the world. The organic vegetables and fruits that we harvest reach the tables of people all across the country as healthy food.
“This decision shows how rightful we are in our struggle. For the future of our children, we will keep on struggling against all geothermal power plant projects in this valley, which is our living space.”
The geothermal power plant project planned to be launched in Orhanlı foresees the construction of geothermal drilling wells and that of wind power plants and solar power plants as supplementary sources.
Orhanlı village, which is known for an olive species endemic in İzmir region, is covered in these olive trees and comes to the fore with its olives and olive cultivation. Organic agriculture, especially olive cultivation, and animal husbandry are done with environmentally friendly methods.
Subsisting mostly on olive cultivation, the people of the region have been resisting the geothermal power plant project and defending their living space as the project will harm the olive trees in the region.
99 villagers of Orhanlı previously filed a court case against the geothermal power plant project in their living space and the İzmir 3rd Administrative Court gave a ruling of stay of execution for the project.
Keeping on working unlawfully despite the court ruling, the Karen Kahramanmaraş Power Generation Inc. has unlawfully cut 21 olive trees of at least 2 hundred years in the region. (TP/SD)
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* Photo and News: Nature Association