Villager Wins Court Battle Against Hydroelectric Plant Construction

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 12.29.06 PM 26th June An administrative court in the Black Sea province of Rize has ruled to halt the construction of a hydroelectric power plant (HES) that was being built on the Andon River, which provides fresh water to at least 3,000 people in the village of Küçükçayır.

Küçükçayır village was declared an environmentally protected site in 2011. The village’s residents held a protest in February against a HES being constructed near the river, closing the main road of the village for hours as part of their protest and not allowing construction equipment to operate at the site.

According to a Cihan news agency report on Wednesday, Kezım Delal, one of the villagers, sold a cow and took a loan from a bank in order to file a lawsuit against the construction company. Emphasizing that he has been struggling in court against the construction plan, which is likely to harm the environment, Delal said the injunction to halt construction stands as an important step towards protecting the environment from other upcoming power plant construction projects that might destroy the country’s natural beauty.

“I have been living in this village for 70 years. I was born here. This is my home. I am so happy that court ruled in favor of our future. Now, I just want to see the construction company leave us alone right away,” he told the press.

Emphasizing that they have been keeping watch for almost eight months in order to prevent the construction company from doing any damage, Delal thanked all his friends who did not leave his side during the protest. “This victory belongs to all of us. Now we can move on with our lives,” he added.

Stating that they were taken into custody by gendarmes many times due to the their protests, Yusuf Esir, another villager, said that he was happy to take a stand against the construction plans. “In order to intimidate us, gendarmes took us into custody many times. But nobody can deter us. If anybody should leave this village, it’s the construction company, not us. Because this is our village,” Esir stated.