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Planned mine project in western Turkey to cause serious harm: union head

The planned zinc-lead-copper mine in the Iznik district of western Bursa province will lead to serious damage to farmland and forest in the project’s territory, an environmental union head told Gazete Duvar news website on Wednesday.

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process has been launched in order to evaluate the positive and negative environmental consequences of the planned mine project in the Aydinlar village of Iznik.

The project is planned to take place on  893 hectares composed of a large forest and farmland next to the Iznik lake, which is one of Turkey’s richest reserves in terms of bio-diversity.

Caner Gokbayrak, the president of the Bursa-based Union for Conservation of Nature and Environment (DOGA-DER) told Haci Biskin from Gazete Duvar that they will file a complaint against those behind the mine project.

“In the case that this project is started, it will seriously harm the area where it is planned. We will not let that happen,” Gokbayrak said.

He added that they will file the complaint as soon as the EIA process is over.

He said the project, led by the Turkish Erguden Mining Company which was founded in 2006, is not only expected to damage hundreds of thousands of trees but also  Lake Iznik itself.

“The green area will be completely destroyed [if the project is actualized]. If the mine goes through the forest, its linking roads and dust will desiccate the trees,” the DOGA-DER head warned.

He also stated that the union had received a number of negative feedbacks that amounted to harassment on social media due to filing complaints against projects that would harm nature in Bursa.

“We said [on social media] that the recent problems we had [due to the harmful projects] stem from the ruling AKP [AK Party]’s hostile policies towards trees and forests in the last 16 years [after they came to power]. We have been harassed on social media for saying that,” Gokbayrak explained.

He rejected social media call for the organization to stay out of politics.

“What we do is not politics. I think they [AKP] have a network of social media trolls because it’s the first time that we, as DOGA-DER, have ever been harassed this much on social media [after the comment on AKP policies].”

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