10.01.2010 Press Release Information

25 February 2010

Say NO to the hydroelectric power plant at the Yuvarlakcay river!

The Yuvarlakcay river boasts one of the most beautiful, crystal-clear rivers in the southwest of Turkey. Unfortunately, this green environment with many unique and monumental trees is now under real danger due to a Hydroelectric Power Plant project on the river.

Yuvarlakcay’s spring is under a large plane tree and is 10 °C year around. The flow is at the moment 3500 liters per second and just enough to feed the natural wild life and the agriculture fields spread in 6 villages along the river. It flows into the lake of Koycegiz, which is connected to the Mediterranean Sea by the famous river reed bedded delta of Dalyan.

The spring area is a favorite place for a lot of people: the locals come here to seek for cool temperatures during hot summers, having picnics. Thousands of toursists from all over the world visit this small paradise during their holiday in Koycegiz, Sarigerme, Marmaris, Gocek and Dalyan, all admiring the beauty of this pure nature.

The Yuvarlakcay river is boosting the unique nature and wild life in the surrounding area. Many very old Plane trees, Sandal trees, Amber trees, Gum trees, special dragonflies (59% of Turkish population lives in the East of Mugla province) which have already an IUCN status, Otters (lutra lutra), especially at the spring and the mouth of the river, Chameleons, Kingfishers, Dahl’s Whipsnakes, inverted tulips, black tulips and many more species of Mother nature can be observed here.

If the power plant project will be realized, this nature rich area will end into another dry area of Turkey. Recently, 10 of the 32 officially-declared monumental Plane trees (only being awarded in 2003) and about 850 red pine trees have already been cut down; some of the remaining monumental plane trees will be buried under water in the small dam lake and some will dry out due to lack of water after the dam. Some of these trees are more then 300 years old!

Environmentally conscious people, organizations, local municipalities, societies have only got together three weeks ago, when we’ve been informed that the owner of the project Akfen Holding has been given a go-ahead with its project, and all now work voluntarily under the Platform for the Protection of Yuvarlakcay. The aim of the Platform is to cancel the Hydroelectric power plant project and call out the river bed as a protected area so as to prevent similar attempts in future.

A new law suit has just been filed in court by the people of Pinar village to stop the project. Around 500 people (calculate this as 500 houses, representing around 2500 people) have given the Power of Attorney to the lawyers of the Platform to fight for their rights.

All activities, demonstrations and the cases opened by the village people are being done on voluntary base. All active supporters including the lawyers have decided to work free of charge and cover their own expenses.

We spread the word via many media channels including, newspapers, internet, facebook, twitter and flickr. Yet this is not enough. We do need the attention of the international media, protecting agencies, travel agencies etc.

Be aware that this is not the only river in Turkey being dammed to generate electricity; at only 10 KM distance the construction of Turkey’s 5th largest dam, Dalaman river, Akkopru. A Whole village with monumental (not rewarded) houses, an ancient Roman bridge at least 1000 years old had to be evacuated. The Dalaman river on which this dam is being built is in use for tourism as a good grade and save WW4 river since 1993. The construction finished 2 years ago, but they have not been able to fill the lake. The water escapes from its pressure and appears though the underground caves and rivers 100 and 200 km down the coast. This dam, being built on the Dalaman river, should generate enough electricity for the whole of Mugla and Antalya provinces, the two biggest tourist industry areas of Turkey!

Just like with this dam and many others in Turkey, the underground rivers and caves make it very hard to fill up the lakes and start generating electricity. To stop the escapes of the water the construction companies fill up the gaps with concreet either cover the whole mountain slopes with concreet sheets. NOW, the same threat exists with the Yuvarlakcay project, due to similar geological orientation of the riverbed.

The hydroelectric plant at the Yuvarlakcay river is to produce 3.4 MW energy. The monies being paid yearly by the company who owns the project is 17.000 TL which is equal to 11,564 USD. The length of the contract of usage of the water is 48 years! The exact costs of the construction of this particular project is not clear to us yet. The flow rate of the river is 3500 liters per second. The power plant will take 3100 liters per second. The promised left 400 liters per second will be used for: irrigation, drink water supply in the villages and keep flowing in the natural bed. At the moment the irrigation water facility only, is already using 400 liters per second. During the summer months the water of the Yuvarlakcay River is not even reaching Lake Koycegiz since all water is necessary for the irrigation of the land.

The Yuvarlakcay project is in fact not as recent as you can see in the time line below. This timeline is helpful for us to understand how “silent” some of the permissions were obtained.

Date Fact action
29 November 2005 Beyobasi Energy Firm offers/bids to pay 17.000 TL for the project on the Yuvarlakcay river
5 May 2007 Beyobasi Energy Firm receives permission from EDPK (Electricity Market Regulatory Authority) to build a power plant on the yuvarlakcay river and use the water for 49 years.
2007 Beyobasi Enery Firm goes under the large holding: AKFEN HES, together with the project at the Yuvarlakcay are they covering 21 power plant projects in Turkey
April 2009 Yesil Vadi restaurant owner takes AKFEN HES to court.
13 December 2009 Trees will be cut at the Yuvarlakcay river 1st protest against this project
20 December Trees, 10 monumental plane trees and over 800 red pine trees, have been cut at the spring of the yuvarlakcay river. Protest, walk along a short part of the river bed to the spring, kayak in the water as protest, protesters chained themselves on the last monumental plane tree signed by forestry as number 23
21 December Signing campaign and protest in Koycegiz (the county where Pinar village is connected to). Special Areas Protection Agency does not want to reply on any questions asked by the protesters. In the evening meeting with the village people to make them aware of what effect the power plant will have in the long term, support them opening a case against this project.
22 December Protest in Mugla (province main town), collected signatures given to the Governor, to the protection of monumental foundation and the university of Mugla.
23 December Bigger demonstration with students from the University of Mugla, much much more people from Pinar village.
24 December Information given to the foreigners living in this area and having their annual Christmas party on Iztuzu beach.
25 December Court experts investigate at the scene
26 December Signing and information campaign at the Dalyan square.
27 December Tree plant day at the spring of the yuvarlakcay river. Famous singer Leman Sam did join the demonstration.
29 December Machines try to enter the spring area and take the trunks away Women of the Pinar village claim the trunks and chase the chef of the Koycegiz forest department away. Camp is being made at the spring
30 December Protest and protection camp continues at the spring of the Yuvarlakcay river till further notice this camp will be there!!!
31 December Governor of Mugla gives press release in which he supports the Power plant New years eve protest camp at the spring as well as the Hill where the water tubes will pass. Night walk to the spring.
01 January Protest swim in the river
03 January New years picnic at the spring of the Yuvarlakcay river, Sucuk (foggot) and Bread for free. Over 600 people did join the protest
04 January Last day for Forest to collect the tree trunks Agreed to start with taking the trunks of the pine trees at the other end of the slopes. Local people go to the council of Mugla to give a presentation.
05 January Tries to drive in machines to make the road crossing the river Protesters and forest agrees one more week suspend for taking the trunks
06 January Project finally arrived in the hands of our lawyers

Hydroelectric Power plants in Turkey:

There are 172 power plants active in Turkey, generating 13.700 MW

Under construction are 148 power plants, they will produce 8.600 MW

To be constructed: 1418 power plants which will cover 22.700 MW

All hydro electric power plant projects in Turkey,  under the wings of AKFEN:

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