KIRAZLI, Turkey (Reuters) – Thousands of Turks including opposition lawmakers staged a peaceful and unusually large protest on the outskirts of a small western town on Monday against what they say will be pollution from a foreign-owned gold mine project.
Public opposition to the site owned by Dogu Biga Mining, the Turkish subsidiary of Canada-based Alamos Gold Inc, mounted after the firm allegedly cut down four times the number of trees than it declared in an environmental impact report.
Near the town of Kirazli in Turkey’s Canakkale province, a few dozen environmentalists have slept in tents since July 26 as part of what they call a “Watch for Water and Conscience”.
Activists say cyanide will be used to extract gold in the Alamos project and will contaminate the soil and waters of a nearby dam. The Turkish government rejects charges that the mine will damage the environment and denies cyanide will be used.
Turkish environmentalists were part of protests in 2013 over a project to demolish Istanbul’s Gezi Park, which grew into nationwide anti-government unrest that prompted a violent security crackdown and hundreds of arrests.