Property boom to blot the Uzumlu landscape but not in a way you might have expected.

On Wednesday 8th August about 50 residents from Uzumlu and Incirkoy gathered in Fethiye to present their petition of over 600 signatures to the Kaymakam, in protest against a planned cement factory.  They learned that the Kaymakam has no current jurisdiction over this matter, but his office received the petition and promised to forward it to the relevant Ministry in Ankara, concerned with Mining and Minerals etc.  A response should be received in about 4 week’s time.  Later several members of the protest met with a representative from the Urantas Company which is planning the cement factory.

{mosimage}We were told that this will be a ‘Mini’ Cement Factory and will be built underground.  Size seemed to vary between one tenth to one fifteenth of the size of a ‘regular’ factory.  All the planning permissions and relevant meetings have been held and approved and, whether liked or not, it should go into production in 5 years time, although the building time table also varies from source to source.

It transpires that the company owns land in the village of Koru, which happens to be on the slopes of the mountains overlooking Uzumlu valley.  They were then granted permission to start a stone quarry and further permission, from The Forestry, to rent yet more land for quarrying purposes, hence the huge, huge scar on the landscape overlooking Uzumlu.  The activities of this quarry particularly disturbs the lives of the villagers in Incirkoy, with both dust and noise.

{mosimage}The villagers of Koru were invited to a meeting in June/July of this year and apparently raised no opposition to the project, but why weren’t the occupiers of Uzumlu and Incirkoy also asked, as the adverse effects upon them appear to be much greater; and they have not benefited from a shiny new asphalt access road?  This seems very poor public relations upon the part of the company, is PR less rooted and important in Turkey, does and should ‘big boys money’ speak louder than environmental and health issues?

It might be ‘legal’, but it feels very unjust, when those liable to suffer future health problems, difficulties in crop production, not to mention the aesthetic eyesore or concerns over property values, are not consulted or see any attempts to inform them.  How many of them are likely to see a declaration printed in the Hurriyet Newspaper?!  Let us not forget, that especially the new residents of the area, who are a mixture of Turkish folk working abroad, Germans and English, are the ones who are bringing in wealth, mixed blessing though that may be, and for the benefits this wealth has brought they deserve better respect and better information.  They certainly did not expect this wealth to introduce a canker into their country paradise.  The area may well need cement production, but should it be allowed in a residential and agricultural area?  Can we believe that emissions will be clean and non detrimental, and do we want grass landscaping to camouflage the truth?  Grass!! It’s the wrong colour for a Turkish mountainside for a start; it’s excessive in water consumption, which also makes one wonder where the water and electric supplies are going to come from when the current ones are not even sufficient to meet local domestic demands.  Too many questions remain; whilst the legal situation may be hard to alter, folk can be assured no stone will be left unturned and the residents of the area will not stay quiet about it.

Sue Tekin

Make Your Voice Heard!

A meeting is taking place in the Tea House opposite the Mosque in Uzumlu on Monday 13th August at 6pm to show opposition to the Cement factory that has already been given planning consent. It will be in Turkish, English & German with people attending from Istanbul, Fethiye etc.

It will affect air quality as well as land & house prices and be devasting to this beautiful village. It is opposed by the locals as well as expats so if you can make it please attend to show an united opposition.

Any builders who have land or develpments in Uzumlu could also be affected so please attend.

If you can pass this on to any others who you know please do. Let’s make people power work.