The People of Cesme have just exercised their legal rights.
Since the beginning of this year, the landowners of Cesme are using their legal rights to protect their land, in order to stop the industrial wind energy projects that have been planned over the years without any public consultation. The planned area is under 1st and 2nd degree natural site protection. Not only are the landowners private property affected, but also adjacent public land. The turbines are planned to be installed dangerously close to the residents.
The investor ABK RES Inc.’s first and only attempt for a public briefing was held on the 3rd of Jan. 2014. The so-called reconciliation meeting for confiscation of public land, had been scheduled after the governments’ s “emergency expropriation decision.” Almost all owners, being local residents for several generations, with their lands being forcefully confiscated, have declared their reluctance to sell their land at the meeting. They also firmly declared that they wanted to use their legal rights to protect their property and village.
The public of Cesme have also clearly showed their strong reaction towards this newly realised destruction. On January 6, immediately after the meeting, the investor ABK RES Inc. started their construction activities, mobilizing and excavating the private and public properties. The information on trials to determine the ‘Price of Land to be Confiscated’ was not announced in the newspaper until the 21st of January, weeks after their construction work had commenced !
Even though, it was well known that this project had no public consent and that the Turkish high court had taken a decision to halt activities in the valley on January 22nd , the investors decided to continue their construction. Only this fact alone makes the whole project illegal.
Who has chosen the location for this project?
The investors and ‘planners’ have chosen this rare, historic and magnificent valley intentionally, an exceptionally beautiful touristic area on the Turkish Aegean coast. Them also being aware of all the damage it will cause to the surrounding nature and its habitat, including those living there as well as the half a million tourists who come to enjoy the area every year. This only due to their greed for the rate of return on their investment. Their project would definitely destruct and endanger the development of Cesme peninsula in the future.
As if we are digging in their backyard!
By building the first 8 turbines over the surrounding hills of Cesme, which will affect more than 5 million square meters of property, and as a result become under their influence and control. These investors have no intention of loyalty towards Cesme or its people, and have shown no respect to the legal system. Their interests and intentions are obvious. Illegally putting up 140m poles over our heads, on top of our private and treasury land, before the local people can exercise their right to speak. People who are only seeking to protect what is already theirs are being harassed. The company opening irrelevant court cases, accusing them of wrongful acts, and even of being terrorists. Local people are blamed to be terrorists while trying to protect the lands of their grandparents!
Their only slogan; ‘Green Energy, Public interest, and we have invested a lot’
Having no other intention than using the supreme efficiency of the wind of the coastline for their profitable investment, their defense to the peoples claims has never been proving their legality, but has always been: It is Green Energy, Turkey needs energy, it is in the Public Interest, and we have invested a lot’. It sounds as if they are doing a voluntary work. An attempt to make it sound as if the government has asked them not to wait for the outcome of the court decisions and to continue their construction activities illegally. The Turkish High Council has already taken an interim decision to halt the implementation on the ‘public interest’ issue, claiming there is not enough evidence to support for public benefit. Disturbingly, the company have never stopped working, And now, they say without any relevance, ‘we have invested a lot, and we will loose so much money’ trying to justify them selves.
Despite all the outstanding cases opened against this project, and subject to all administrative decisions, we unfortunately think the company ABK will continue their illegal acts. A few of the open Court cases against include; The decision of Emergency Expropriation, Production license revocation, Cancellation of EIA exclusions, cancellation of illegal areal planning and still on-going cases even for expropriation proceedings, have not been enough for them to hesitate in continuing with their destruction on the 1st and 2nd degree natural protected areas. What if the courts rule that The project is not in the public interest, or if the EIA exclusion decision is reversed, or if the decision on area planning is cancelled,…? Then what ?
Without informing the Public, insidiously, planning for years … Contrary to the Scientific Report for EIA!
Neither the local people, the landowners, the interested NGO’s , tourist dependant local businessmen, nor the uninformed farmers who strive their living from the soil and the microclimate of the region have been consulted on this project. In short, for many years, investors and their allies have slyly planned for their commercial gains in the valley, which is protected, not only by Turkish Ministry of Environment as a 1st degree naturally protected area, but also protected by the International Berne Convention.
The Investors themselves had hired and paid for a Scientific Study on the environmental effects of their investment to the Akdeniz University, Antalya. But when the report clearly stated ‘this investment inevitably will affect the nature of human life in a negative way’, they somehow decided not to make it public and continue hiding behind the EIA exemption decision. Not stopping their activities and hiding this report is just another indication of their working procedures and standards.
We have all the rights!
In order to prevent any resistance from local people they took advantage of their nescience, telling them ‘they have obtained all the permissions, there is nothing locals can do, it is a done deal,…’, where the local village people had a lot of rights, first being their ‘human rights’, but were given only a short time (30 days) to organize, hire lawyers, find the finance to reject in the Turkish Courts of Law. Mind the ABK RES company started their construction even before this period of 30 days. They have targeted the nescient locals with their spurious assertions to mute them. Of course, they have acted so unlawfully, making so many mistakes since the beginning. Today, this fact is realized not only by the locals but also by the people who believe in and respect the laws of the state of the Republic of Turkey.
The deeds of the invaded parcels still belong to us, but the illegal installation is almost over!
Expropriation procedures have still not today (December) been completed due to the ongoing legal process and the deeds of the land are still registered to the original landowners. However, for 11 months the construction has been going on daily on their private property ! No human respect has been given to the local people of Cesme who wish to protect their precious and ancestral lands from these powerful and well-educated investors.
Project planning: A Divine Comedy! No access road …
Today we are faced with the reality that this project has been planned without an access road to deliver turbines and all necessary parts to the site. The 55 meter long lorries with turbine blades are idle in Izmir because there is no access roads to bring them to the valley.
The Investors are trying all possible solutions without any rights, as from the beginning, even forging documents. Illegally enlarging, excavating and constructing, cutting trees, widening enough passageways for their over-sized deliveries, relentlessly trespassing on private and treasury properties that are not even on their original plans. When unable to agree with the landowners who do not want to give permission to use their land, the company has even opened court cases, accusing them of being malicious.
Unauthorized access and road closure from UKOME!
Without getting transportation permits from the authority UKOME, they have continued their illegal sneaky acts to deliver turbine parts, disrespecting and violating the law and safety regulations.
The trucks were stuck in the mud!
Not clean, rights, life and natural disaster!
Today everyone understands that this investment has nothing to do with clean energy. What may have been planned with good intentions on paper has become a scandal, full of corruption, irregularities, illegalities, and natural disasters, because of their desire and greed for profit.
Time is over!
It is now clear that investors have dug a hole they are unable to climb out of. They have not only lost financially, but shall if ruled by court, also pay the inevitable consequences of their crimes in the Turkish Courts of Law.