Translated from Jinnews report by Habibe Eren
Even as ecological destruction has continued during the pandemic process, women have been active in the struggle for ecological protection and renewal. Peoples’ Democratic Congress’ (HDK’s) Ecology Council member, Yağmur Yurtsever, stated that womens resistance in Kirazlıyayla and Çapaklı have provided hope to everyone: “The struggle for ecology has revealed another meeting space for women”.
The HDK’s programme advocates “the development of mechanisms that would ensure people’s self-management, defying the hegemony of civilian and military bureaucracy”. Local assemblies are promoted
by HDK “as the main means of gaining democracy and becoming the subject of politics by the oppressed”.
Yurtsever described the destruction of nature that has been taking place alongside struggles of women to address these concerns: “Ecological destruction took place in many cities since the beginning of March, with the coronavirus outbreak in Turkey. In this process, an area of nine thousand acres in Adana, one thousand acres in Artvin, three thousand in Bolu, seven thousand in Erzurum and a total of fourteen thousand acres from a ‘Plateau’ were affected. The increasingly destructive activities of a gold mine in Ordu-Fatsa resumed. The sand from Salda Lake was removed and expropriation decisions were made for hydroelectrical power plants (HEPP’s) and other mega-developments in many areas. Women have resisted against these ecologically destructive initiatives in Kirazlıyayla and Çapaklı”, she observed.
Yurtsever stated that the government regarded the State of Emergency (OHAL) situation as an opportunity to advance ecological destruction in years before the pandemic struck. Now, with mega-projects, people are being impoverished at a time when access to health systems during the pandemic is so inadequate. This leads to displacement, deaths and destruction.
Yağmur made reference to the recent disastrous floods in Giresun, caused by hydro-electric power dams: “The Black Sea is a very rainy region. This is well-known. That is why constructing reservoirs and building dams here is a bad decision. There have been projects in the Black Sea for years that have turned this situation into a disastrous one. The same applies to Istanbul. Floods or earthquakes can be ‘man-made’, they are not only ‘natural’ disasters. In our case, the government is responsible for them.
Yağmur stated that women’s resistance in Kirazlıyayla and Çapaklı provides hope to everyone: “The struggle for ecology and womens resistance to protect it have revealed another meeting space for women. Women can create a method and experience of struggle. For the past five years, women’s struggles have taken on added significance. We are at the forefront of resistance struggles. We must merge ecological principles with the women’s struggle. Our most important point should be to establish these connections”.