Villagers block forest clearance with their bodies. Resistance against environmental destruction continues.

A resident said, “These forests are gifts from our ancestors left for us. We are the ones who shall decide what happens in these forests. We have been taking care of the trees and the environment here. To protect the trees, we have been collecting money and hiring guards to make sure no one cuts any trees. This is our way of life, the forests are our own lives.”

Villagers block forest clearance with their bodies.  Resistance against environmental destruction continues.

While the country is struggling against deaths, disease, hygiene, and the corona virus, the corporations are being granted permissions for destruction.

Mining corporations, touristic projects, dam building and public and private electric generation stations are moving full force, while the people are not looking, in destroying mountains, forests, beaches, rivers and drinking water of residents when everybody is focused on staying alive from an ill managed epidemic.

It was only a week ago when the people quite accidentally noticed that the white fine sands of an environmentally protected lake was being hauled in huge trucks to a tourist establishment owned by a businessman close to the government on a beach. This was being done when people were ordered to stay at home using the pandemic as the excuse. Only after a social outcry shook the social media, the destruction had to be stopped.

This time, the destruction effort started at a remote village of the northern town of Trabzon on the Black Sea cost.

Without informing any residents, the cutting of forests started at Düzköy village. However, when the news spread, the villagers gathered and flocked to the clearing site. They barricaded and stopped the heavy machinery used by the government and the corporations with their bodies. They were joined by people living in 2 other nearby villages who came to stop the forest clearing.

A resident said, “These forests are gifts from our ancestors left for us. We are the ones who shall decide what happens in these forests. We have been taking care of the trees and the environment here. To protect the trees, we have been collecting money and hiring guards to make sure no one cuts any trees. This is our way of life, the forests are our own lives.”

The government uses the tired excuse of building a road for the forest destruction. However, the villagers say, “This road will do away with both our environment and our lives.”

The opposition to building unnecessary roads, or building small dams on the rivers and creeks have been growing in this region, one of few places that still enjoys lush, green forests in Turkey.

One villager said, “When we talked to the Forestry Department officials they kept telling us, ‘The wood from the trees will be used for making pencils.’ They will not only destroy our trees, they will also open up our environment and our geography for looting and theft. They keep telling us that when they cut down our forests, we will live comfortably. No, let us keep the forests until the trees grow old and die from old age. We will still protect our forest. We will block this road from being built no matter what. Today, we stopped the heavy machinery with men, women, young and old. If they come back again, we will stop them again. They will threaten us, they will use violence and force, we know. However, we are here, ready to resist.”

Sendika.org news (M.B.)

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