Mount Ida (Kaz Dağları) a.k.a “Valley of Troy” is where the foundations of the Troyan war were laid. The gods watched it from here, Zeus was born on this mountain, Paris lived here. Today, it separates Aegean Region from Marmara Region, and is one of the biggest sources of oxygen and wildlife variety in Turkey, containing around 270.000 hectares of forest.
However, today it is not on the news for its beauty, but because of the extermination. A Canadian company, Alamos Gold Inc., took over the drilling and operations rights of a gold mine, which will be drilled right in the heart of Mount Ida by 2020. According to TEMA (a Turkish environmental NGO), that drilling area is on 89.7% forest landscape. Already, since March 2019, 195.000 trees were cut in this area, before the drilling process even started. This man-made disaster affected 283 plant species and 183 animal species so far.
For what? In Exchange for what the Turkish government overlooked this environmental spillover and let a Canadian company come and destroy 1540 hectares of forests within one of the biggest greenfields in the country?
The Canadian Gold company, Alamos Gold has two advanced-stage gold mining investments in Turkey. One in Mount İda, one in mount Kirazli. Let’s hear the rest from Alamos Gold CEO John McCluskey himself: “We’ve invested $100 million in Turkey over the 9 years. We’ve been very successful in explorations with a modest investment and ended up finding roughly 3 million ounces of gold there (3 million ounces of gold = $4.25 billion!!). We’ve been there since 2009 and started our first project in 2010. We will not see our first production until 2020 and we’ve got about 15 years of production ahead of us after that point”.
So let’s form the equation: Turkish government gave up on $4.25 billion of Gold and 195.000 trees just for $100 million of investment over 9 years. Not to mention the fact that 20,000 tonnes of cyanide will be used, causing the water resources of 24 villages to face contamination, according to Artı Gerçek columnist Pelin Cengiz. The project area is located only 30 kilometers away to central Çanakkale and 40 kilometers to Troy Ancient City.
So, in whose pockets did this money go that the government allowed such a raid in that region? The foreign investor may not care (although they should), what about the handful of people running the country? What about global institutions like the United Nations or the International Trade Organization which have a say in foreign direct investments? Will they keep on acting on complaints instead of providing proactive supervision on environmentally detrimental FDI’s like gold mining?
Another raid, this time on one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, is happening on Salda Lake. Known as “The Maldives of Turkey” thanks to its endemic species and minerals, Salda lake is the 5th cleanest lake in the world “so far”. This week, the Turkish government is putting the coastal line of Salda (supposedly a first degree protected area) on tender for a so-called “Millet Bahçesi”, a project of the Turkish government supposedly building “large recreational gardens” all over the country. The project is expected to wipe off Salda Lake from the World’s Cleanest Lakes list. The high amount of visitors will damage the flora, wildlife, and the hydrological structure. Salda Lake will not be a virgin landscape anymore, nor a world beauty. Same happened to Uzungöl and Eğirdir Lake with similar projects.
Protestors? In both areas they are mostly locals, who will be directly affected by spillovers. There is a public awareness already but not enough to prevent these projects from happening. Being vocal has utmost importance as purity is becoming harder to spot in Mother Nature day by day.
Some active platforms opposing the issue:
https://www.change.org/p/kirazl%C4%B1-da-uydulara-g%C3%B6re-s%C3%B6ylenenin-4-kat%C4%B1-195-000-a%C4%9Fa%C3%A7-kesildi-i%C5%9Fletme-durdurulsun-alt%C4%B1nda%C3%B6l%C3%BCmvar-kazda%C4%9Flar%C4%B1hepimizin-canakkalegovtr-csbgovtr (Questionable how active. Around 165.000 sings)
https://www.change.org/p/salda-g%C3%B6l%C3%BC-ne-millet-bah%C3%A7esi-yap%C4%B1lmas%C4%B1n%C4%B1-ve-g%C3%B6l%C3%BCn-yok-olmas%C4%B1n%C4%B1-istemiyorum-saldayadokunma-murat-kurum-burdurbld-csbgovtr (Questionable how active. Around 130.000 signs)