Turkish lawyers' appeal

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EVERY YEAR millions of tourists come to Turkey's south-western corner, famed for its fine beaches, unique nature, and rich cultural history. But what the tourists usually not see is the extensive damage that is being done to the area. In the Mugla region there are three large coal-fired power plants operated by the Turkish ministry of energy and TEAS, the Turkish Electricity Authority - all lacking any form of flue-cleaning equipment.

Separated by no more than a few tens of kilometres from each other, they emit altogether 300,000 tons or more of sulphur every year, besides a variety of other pollutants. Open-cast mining of the coal has already devastated hundreds of thousands of hectares of fruit orchards and forest, on which the ash from combustion is also being deposited. Since there are no arrangements for containment, there is a clear threat to the groundwater, too.

Three years ago the Izmir Lawyers for Environment instituted legal action at the Regional Administrative Court, claiming that the emissions from the three power plants were causing unacceptable damage to the environment. The court appointed three scientists from the universities of Izmir and Istanbul to look into the matter, and their conclusion was that the power operations were causing irreparable damage not only to fauna and flora but also to human health.

Consequently on June 20 this year the court issued an injunction calling for immediate cessation of operations at the three plants. According to Article 138/14 of the Turkish constitution, "Legislative, executory powers and administration are obliged to obey the decision of the courts. These powers and the administration can never change and delay the implementation of the courts' decisions."

However, the Turkish Council of Ministers has breached the constitution by issuing a ruling on September 3 for the operation of the plants despite the court's decision. Thus, the Turkish administration did not obey the court adjudication. The Izmir Lawyers for Environment are now appealing for worldwide support for their demand that the court's decision should be upheld. The emissions from the offending plants must cease.

You are asked to address protests to:

For further information, please contact:

Izmir Lawyers for Environment, Noyan Özkan, 1378 Sokak, 4/1, Kordon lshani, No:107, Alsancak, Izmir, Turkey. Tel. +90 232 4638522. Fax. +990 232 4638543.

The text and images for this page have been reproduced verbatim from Acid News, No 5, December 1996.
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(c) Keith Parkins March 1997 rev 1