İZMİR - Bergama Environment Platform Spokesperson Erol Engel said that pine nuts have been destroyed in the Kozak Plateau due to the increase in quarry capacity and the destruction caused by the mines.
The government's policies towards nature, the plundering of plateaus and pastures cause the destruction of agriculture and forests. In this process, all plateaus and pastures from the Black Sea to Kurdistan, from the Aegean to the Mediterranean were opened to the mining and energy sector. In one of these plateaus, Kozak Plateau in Bergama district of Izmir, the plundering that started with gold mines in the 1990s has multiplied with more than 100 quarries in the last 10 years. The plateau, where hundreds of quarries are located, along with unlicensed mining sites, is about to lose its most important source of income, pine nuts. In recent years, the yield has decreased, and millions of trees have been cut down to extract stones.
Finally, the capacity increase initiated by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process on May 25 also put the region in serious danger. The process started to increase the capacity of the granite quarry, which is being operated by Ideal Stone Madencilik in Aşağıcuma and Hacıhamzalar neighborhoods, will cause tens of thousands of pine trees to be cut down in the region.
Then, with the decision published in the Official Gazette on May 29, mineral exploration will be carried out by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, General Directorate of Mining and Petroleum Affairs (MAPEG), in an area of 1,784 hectares, which includes the villages of Hacıhamzalar and Terzihaliler in the highland. The area, whose tender was awarded by Meds Mine Madencilik, includes both a forest area covered with pine pines and agricultural lands within the boundaries of the mine site in Kozak Plateau, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and defined as an 'ecologically sensitive area'.
THE PEASANT HAS BEEN POOR
Evaluating the plundering carried out in the plateau for many years and its results, Bergama Environment Platform Spokesperson Erol Engel said: "Pine nuts have not yielded for 11 years in the villages due to the plundering in the region. The villagers were rapidly impoverished due to the fact that the yield decreased by 10 to 1. The state does not encourage the production of pine nuts, which provides an added value of 50 million dollars per year compared to the figures of the Bergama Chamber of Commerce 10 years ago. These ignoring policies of the political power have left the villagers imprisoned in stone quarries. The number of stone quarries, which were mentioned as 20-30 in the past, exceeded 100. There are also many unlicensed employees."
THE PEASANT DOESN'T KNOW
Referring to the mining tender published in the Official Gazette one day after the May 28 election, Engel continued as follows: “As the political power runs out economically, it puts the most valuable springs and shores of this country up for sale. Hacıhamzalar and Terzialiler villages are located on this 784-hectare area given in Kozak Plateau. There are pine nut cooperatives in these villages. However, neither the cooperatives nor the villagers nor the head person are aware of this tender. This incident is the biggest injustice and disrespect towards the people living in the region. It is to ignore them. You run after these people when they buy the game, but you don't ask them anything while they are killing the most basic right to life, wildlife and nature.”
'PEOPLE WILL PAY THEM TO ACCOUNT FOR ECO-DESTRUCTION'
Stating that as long as this persecution continues, the people living here in the future will pay them to account for this eco-destruction, Engel said: "The authorities should come to the region and see what was done. The government's statement said that they betrayed Istanbul in the past. This betrayal has now spread all over Turkey. Betrayal has reached its peak. We do not expect them to turn from this wrong, but we think that our people should take care of their land, nature and their own lives."
MA / Tolga Güney