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New expropriation plan causes environmental problems.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Since the government's recent expropriation of olive groves in Soma, a district of Manisa province, the Cabinet has issued expropriation decisions for hydroelectric plants and wind farm projects in numerous districts across 15 provinces, adding to environmentalists' concerns about the growing destruction of natural resources and forests for profit-oriented energy projects.

According to the Cabinet decree published in the Official Gazette on Oct. 1, the Ministry of Finance will urgently expropriate areas in the provinces of Adyyaman, Ankara, Artvin, Balykesir, BingE[micro]l, Ecanakkale, Edirne, Erzurum, yzmir, KahramanmaraE-, KyrE-ehir, Osmaniye, Tekirday-, Trabzon and Van for hydroelectric plant and wind farm projects in order to build electricity distribution lines. Also, some private land in Balykesir province will be expropriated by the Ministry of Finance to build a wind power plant in Kavakly.

Greenpeace lawyer Deniz Bayram, speaking to Today's Zaman, underlined that the use of these urgent expropriations is the cause behind what occurred in Soma. She stated: "It is unlawful to build a power plant on agricultural land, forested land or in a national park. You may have an energy plan, but, according to the code, you can only build power plants in areas planned for this purpose." She also emphasized that the owners of the land are being treated unjustly, adding: "The urgent expropriation is a nightmare for the owners of the land. They are not given notice or anything. People are bypassed." She also recalled the urgent expropriation in Soma. The villagers, preparing to start the olive harvest at the end of September, were surprised to see two-meter-high wire fences around the plot, as the local authorities had installed the fences over the weekend with no prior warning.

Bayram said that according to the Constitution, an "urgent expropriation" can be enacted only in times of war or for the public good. Bayram noted that the Cabinet decision offers no explanation as to why an "urgent expropriation" of the land was necessary. "The Supreme State Council allows the Cabinet to rule for urgent expropriations only in times of war or with the declaration of a state of emergency and clearly states these lines. Energy plans are absolutely not one of these cases. This situation is clearly against the code." Bayram also underlined that the urgent expropriations can open the way for further environmental damage.

The Cabinet issued a decision last month to expropriate 388,000 square meters of olive groves in Soma in order to build a thermal power plant. Greenpeace has claimed that the expropriation was unlawful. On its website, Greenpeace Turkey claims that the land expropriated by the Cabinet decision to build the thermal power plant is the same land that the Manisa provincial directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture previously rejected for the same purpose.

Ahmet Ecyngyr (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Oct 1, 2014
Words:482
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