🔴 “There are 145 mine projects in such an important area, when in fact it should have been on the #World Heritage List. The Euphrates #ecosystem is being heavily damaged,” says Barış Yıldırım, a lawyer in #Turkeyhttps://t.co/IXYh7rWMNG pic.twitter.com/QMD4CdRflI
— MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) August 23, 2022
New mining projects in Turkey’s southeastern provinces of Tunceli (Dersim) and Bingöl (Çewlig) are causing extreme threats to the ecological balance of the ecosystem in the Euphrates basin, a lawyer told Mezopotamya News Agency.
Barış Yıldırım, a lawyer who has been pursuing legal battles against hydroelectric power plants, said the mine projects would deplete crucial fresh water resources and destroy the ecosystem.
“The struggle for ecology is one for the right to life. It shouldn’t be perceived as a regional struggle,” he said.
Rich in wildlife and plant species, Dersim has been facing massive ecological destruction since 2019, when authorities granted mining licenses encompassing a 43,500-hectare area.
Although some licenses were annulled thanks to environmentalists’ efforts, Yıldırım said that gold, copper, and silver mines were still operating in a similarly sized area.
This activity could cause untold damage to the river that is both unique as a habitat for diverse flora and fauna and vitally important in the supply of water to the region, said Yıldırım.
“There are 145 mine projects in such an important area, when in fact it should have been on the World Heritage List. The Euphrates ecosystem is being heavily damaged,” the lawyer said.
In one recent incident in June, 20 tons of water tainted with cyanide leaked into the soil, said Yıldırım.
Yıldırım said that these projects target not only the ecology but also the cultural and natural heritage of Dersim and called on citizens to stand firm against the mines.
“Dersim is a unique region in the history of humanity. It has always protected its culture by standing up to hegemonic powers. These projects are a continuation of cultural and ecological genocide,” he said.