Prime Minister Davutoğlu to meet activists following Artvin mine protest
by Daily Sabah
ANKARAFeb 24, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Feb 24, 2016 12:00 am
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is scheduled to meet representatives of a nongovernmental organization spearheading protests against a planned mine in northeastern city of Artvin, citing environmental concerns. Neşe Karahan, the chairwoman of the Green Artvin Association, will meet the prime minister and executives in the capital of Ankara on Wednesday. The NGO requested a meeting with Davutoğlu after authorities greenlit plans for a privately-run copper mine in Artvin's Cerattepe, a leafy Black Sea district.
The Green Artvin Association has held protests since last week, arguing the mine would harm the environment and protests have escalated into riots with some protesters clashing with riot police who have attempted to disperse the crowd blocking the road to the mine site. The Artvin governor, mayor and deputies will also attend the meeting. State-run Anadolu Agency (AA) reported that Davutoğlu had met with Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak and Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu last week for a comprehensive review of the issues involved. AA said Davutoğlu was "sensitive" to preserving the environment and today's meeting would set a road map for the issue. The government has repeatedly assuaged concerns that the construction of the mine and extraction of copper in Cerattepe will not harm the environment, as the mining company was prohibited from conducting open-pit mining operations.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Cerattepe hosts "one of the most beautiful places on earth and it is our duty to preserve nature." He added that Turkey also needed to extract mineral resources, and can "do so without harming the environment, thanks to technology." Davutoğlu has accused the rioters of "provocation." "We will not allow those exploiting the situation for their own interests to blame the government. Turkey is a country with rule of law, and all provocations will be responded in kind," he said. He cited several environmental impact assessment reports prepared by experts, and vowed to "take measures" if the mine is found to damage the environment.