The protest meeting held on Sat 29th Sept 2007 in Uzumlu, Fethiye was attended by over 200 people.

Report of Protest meeting held on Sat 29th Sept 2007 in the caf矩n Uzumlu against the stone quarry, proposed cement factory and lime kiln in the Uzumlu valley.

The meeting was well attended by over 200 people with the largest proportion being local Turkish villagers. It was encouraging for everyone to see that they now realise the dangers of the proposed development by Urantas.

The meeting was opened by Turgut Saydan chair of the Organisation for the protection and preservation of a Green Uzumlu.  The opening speech delivered by Kemal Ozkara, member of the protest steering committee, was as follows:-

Greeting to all our dear friends, who are sharing the same sky, air and place together, our best wishes for a healthy life in a clean environment.

The reason for our gathering today is because of the danger the area is facing from the quarries, cement factory and lime kiln that are already built or are going to be constructed in the near future and which will destroy our environment. It is in our hands to stop this and we will tell you how. Firstly we have to work together. Uzumlu, Incirkoy, Koru Koy and Arpecik Koy, Fethiye, Turkey – the world – needs bright intelligent and courageous people. This means intelligent people who care for their environment and who will use this intelligence to work to keep a safe and clean environment.

This means people who are not only driven by greed and the need to make money at any cost, but with the courage to act to protect the civil rights of their neighbours as well as themselves.  We need people with the courage to be on the side of right and not helping the powerful. We are privileged to be living in this beautiful environment and we should fight to save it. We should fight to prevent other’s attempts to pollute this with sulphur, excess carbon dioxide carcinogens and other toxic matters. We should not allow the devastation of our forests and land where civilisation has previously thrived for thousands of years.

Coming together with a strong conviction of the value of what we have, we can and we must fight to protect and even improve it, we will NOT give permission for these beautiful mountains and this environmentally special area to be destroyed.

This was followed by a short speech by Dr Erdal Aytluner, who lives in Fethiye and whose work is dedicated to the effects of pollution on human health.  He welcomed the attendance of so many people and voiced his concerns about the adverse affects the loss of the natural environment and pollution is likely to bring to the area.

We were then informed about the presence of a rare salamander, the Lykian Salamander which is exclusive to the area between and including Dalyan and Uzumlu.  This Salamander is on the world’s red list of endangered species, meaning this area should be under special protection.

Cahit Engin, chair of the chamber of architects then told us that an important part of the architects brief is to help create and preserve an environment where people can live healthily and happily.  They are concerned that no sign of the proposed change of the Uzumlu area to be used for heavy industry has been posted on the general plans of the area – the type of plans that feature future developments.  The head office of the chamber of architects will be investigation and if necessary contesting this issue.  The chamber of architects will also be briefing and paying for a lawyer to contest the building of a cement factory and lime kiln, even extensive stone quarries in unsuitable areas.  This may require more than one law suit, however we have found a lawyer from Antalya who has successfully conducted previous cases of a similar nature. Court hearings should be following shortly. He pointed out that we are all against the destruction and pollution of the environment, not against people earning an honest living.

Two questions or points were raised:

The first was from a teacher living in Incirkoy, he stated that the villagers had become very concerned about the size and amount of explosions from the quarry so they feared their houses would crack and fall down.  He stated that he called Halil Uran and asked him to reduce the strength of the explosion which he apparently did.  Had the protesters tried to contact Halil Uran?  The answer was we had, whilst Halil Uran was unavailable, his brother Haluk had been contacted early on and had been asked to address us as to why we did not need to be worried about, no attempts to meet us were forthcoming. (Incidentally the day after the meeting a very large earth shaking explosion took place at the quarry.)

The next person stated that she wished to see the Council leaders of both Uzumlu and Fethiye along with the area Muhtars seated on the top table fighting alongside the protesters.  The leader of Uzumlu and most of the Muhtars were present at the meeting.

There was good press attendance including TV and local papers and they left at the end of the meeting to photograph the very extensive excavation of the mountainside so far.