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29 Feb 2016

Today's Zaman

Turkish government temporarily halts Cerattepe mine construction in wake of protests

"Government orders halt to contested Cerattepe gold mine project", 24 Feb 2016

After meeting with representatives from Artvin in Ankara on Wednesday, a mine project that was to get under way in Cerattepe has been halted, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced on Wednesday... Davutoğlu said the meeting took place with civil society leaders and heads of state institutions in attendance after massive protests against the mine's construction. “The construction work [spearheaded by Cengiz Holding] will be halted until a legal process has been completed,” the prime minister said. He also underlined that the construction of the mine will be done in accordance with conditions to protect the environment of Artvin after the legal process has been completed.

The administrative court ruling in 2014 also revealed that more than 50,000 trees were to be cut down in order to mine gold and copper in Cerattepe. The ruling contradicts statements from Prime Minister Davutoğlu, who last week claimed no trees would be cut down, and Cengiz Holding officials, who maintain that only around 3,500 trees will be felled. İstanbul Bar Association President Ümit Kocasakal said at a press conference after he was rejected by security forces trying to enter the Cerattepe area on Wednesday that the Artvin governor's order to stop people entering Cerattepe is unlawful. According to Kabasakal, the governor can impose an entry ban on an area, based on a law on meetings and demonstrations, when there is a public protest without necessary permissions from the authorities. However: “You cannot ban people traveling to wherever they wish, according to the Constitution,” Kabasalal said.