The villagers of Boğazpınar in Tarsus district of Mersin province of Turkey have been struggling against the construction of a hydro-electric power plant, or HES, in their villages since 2010. Although the villagers won the legal case they filed against the hydro-electric power plant; the state council reversed the decision of the local court by permanently closing legal action way against the hydro-electric power plant in question.
AKP GOVERNMENT’S MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT INTERVENES IN THE CASE
The villagers filed a lawsuit against the approval of the environmental action analysis report by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation in 2013, followed by the court’s decision to annul the approval of the ministry in 2016. The decision of the court was based on expert opinion reports on the natural living spaces that contracted due to the power plant.
The Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation objected to the court’s decision by appealing to the state council, which reversed the court’s decision that annulled the approval of the environmental action analysis report.
The state council’s decision stated that the expert opinion reports “do not concretely lay bare the list of endemic and endangered species, to which extent they will be negatively influenced and the calculated impact zone of the power plant.” The decision also added that the environmental damages due to the power plant “are estimated to be reversible by means of the climate and flora of the region.”
The hydro-electric power plant near Boğazpınar village in Mersin, Tarsus was constructed in 2010 by the company called KTM Group. The project was intensely protested by the villagers due to its negative impacts on the daily life of the villagers and its destructive results in nature. Boğazpınar villagers took their struggle to a legal status in 2013 when the same company KTM group commenced on a new hydro-electric power plant project in a nearby locality.
VILLAGERS DETERMINED TO KEEP STRUGGLING
Boğazpınar villagers have been struggling against some oppressions of the company that undertook the hydro-electric power plant project. The company even filed a lawsuit against a song performed by the children during a festival against the power plant in 2013. The lyrics of the song that the company found annoying were “do not construct the power plant in vain; we will knock it down eventually.” The villagers were on trial for 13 years imprisonment for that song.
One of the shopkeepers was reported to the district governorate for writing “fascist hydro-electric power plant”.
Boğazpınar villagers also tell that the previous village mukhtar (local authority of the village) was a pro-power plant figure and that he was trying to gain proponents by means of some assurances. However, the villagers note that they are determined to continue their struggle.
PRIVATISED ENERGY INVESTMENTS DRAGGED TURKEY TO ECONOMIC CRISIS
Energy investments are one of the reasons that dragged Turkey into a great economic crisis since they are made only to secure the profits of the capitalists. Following the privatisation steps in the energy sector since the ruling AKP government came to power in 2002, hydroelectric power plant investments and all other electric production and distribution services were privatised in Turkey.
The investments were financed by loans that increased the foreign currency debt stock of the private sector in the country. Around one fifth of that debt stock is the debt of the energy sector. Through these investments in the energy sector, the electricity production capacity of Turkey highly surpassed that of its electric use. Around one third of the electric production capacity of the country is idle.
The debt of this idle electric production is now being laid on the shoulders of the working class since energy companies are unable to pay their debts. The thirst of these companies is yet endless as the case of Boğazpınar village hydro-electric power plant shows.