Tema Foundation Supports The İkizköy Residents On Watch To Protect The Akbelen Forest From Coal Mining (2)

TEMA Foundation supports the İkizköy residents on watch to protect the Akbelen Forest from coal mining

Support Visit from TEMA Foundation to Akbelen Watch

TEMA Foundation paid a support visit to the people of İkizköy, who were on guard duty to protect the Akbelen Forest against coal mining. Deniz Ataç, Chairman of the TEMA Foundation, stated that they are a supporter and follower of the vigil that the villagers continue, and said, “The work we have done for 30 years in the light of science and law and the opinions we have received from scientists say that the Akbelen Forest should be protected.”

The capacity of the coal mine in İkizköy, a town in Muğla’s Milas district, is intended to be increased in a way that it swallows the Akbelen Forest in order to supply coal to thermal power plants. The İkizköy Environmental Committee, formed by the villagers who came together to protect the Akbelen Forest and their living spaces, has been on guard for 544 days, saying, “We will not give up the Akbelen Forest.”

TEMA Foundation supports the İkizköy residents on watch to protect the Akbelen Forest from coal mining (1)

“Science says Akbelen Forest should be protected”

Deniz Ataç, Chairman of the TEMA Foundation, speaking at a support visit to the villagers on duty with a delegation consisting of the TEMA Foundation Environmental Policies Department and Muğla Provincial Representative Office, said, “As you know, a lawsuit was filed for the cancellation of the permission given to protect the Akbelen Forest. However, after the latest expert report, the stay of execution decision was lifted and Akbelen Forest was left unprotected in this case. The studies we have done in the light of science and law for 30 years and the opinions we have received from scientists say that the Akbelen Forest should be protected.”

“We have countless reasons to protect Akbelen,” said Deniz Ataç, adding, “We know that it is not possible to preserve the vitality of the topsoil stripped by mining activities with the measures written in the EIA. If Akbelen Forest is opened to mining activities, even if rehabilitation works are carried out after the quarry is closed, the forest will never be restored.

Our hydrogeology study, which we carried out in Milas last year, indicates that a mining activity to be carried out in Akbelen; revealed that it will adversely affect the underground water system of the region, the Çamköy Suçıktı spring and the feeding of Bodrum drinking water wells. In other words, the issue is not limited to our forest assets, our water assets are also under threat. A district of Bodrum, which is kilometers away, may also be dehydrated by a wrong intervention to the ecosystem here.

“It is imperative that Akbelen be protected from the mine threat”

Reminding that after the big forest fires in Milas in 2021, the natural areas where wildlife can take shelter have decreased considerably, Ataç said, “Akbelen Forest hosts the wildlife in the region. Destroying this place means doing even greater damage to the dwindling biodiversity. We also know that many villages were destroyed for coal mining in the region. Along with the villages, our culture, tradition and memory are also disappearing. We are not content to have another village destroyed.

Another very important issue is the olive groves of the Akbelen Forest. However, the change made in the mining regulation last year to open the olive groves to mining activities and the fact that the bag once again came to the agenda with an article in the bill shows that this threat will continue.

In addition, today, where the climate crisis has become so severe and affects our lives with disasters, we urgently need to give up the use of fossil fuels that caused this crisis. New or capacity increase projects for coal do not match Turkey’s 2053 net zero target. Considering the commitment signed at the COP26 meeting held in Glasgow in 2021 to protect forests and prevent deforestation, it is imperative that Akbelen be protected from the mine threat in order to fulfill this commitment.”

“We will continue to be a follower and supporter”

“As the TEMA Foundation, we have been working for more than 8 years to both stop and publicize the destruction caused by coal-fired power plants and coal mining on our natural assets. We know that another life, another way of generating energy, is possible. We do not want to lose another tree in Muğla, which is still trying to heal the wounds of the big forest fires that took place in 2021,” Ataç said, “Akbelen Forest is our home, we do not give up our forest,” and underlined that they will continue to be both followers and supporters of the ongoing vigil and defense in Akbelen.

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