TEMA, The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats

It is planned to destroy Akbelen Forest in order to extract coal for Yeniköy-Kemerköy thermal power plants in Muğla. Non-governmental organisations call on the authorities to immediately halt the cutting of trees, which disregards nature and human rights.

Akbelen Forest, located in İkizköy of Muğla Milas and the living space of İkizköy residents, must be defended against the devastating effects of the climate crisis. Forest is a valuable part of our wealth, which is rapidly declining due to forest fires and human activities. The life around this forest, along with its agricultural fields, villages and thousands of years of ancient culture, has been destroyed by the coal mines in the region for more than 40 years and without even preparing an Environmental Impact Assessment report. Now, in order to extract coal for these two thermal power plants, the Akbelen Forest, where the mine boundaries are based, is to be destroyed, and it is planned to displace the people of İkizköy. The people of İkizköy, who do not want to lose their forests and villages, have been keeping watch at the beginning of their forests and waging a legal fight against the mine for more than two years.

In August 2021, upon the request of the people of İkizköy, who filed a lawsuit against the expansion of the mining area of the Akbelen Forest, the local administrative court decided to stay the execution. In this process, expert discoveries were made three times in the region. As a result of the expert report prepared by the committee after the examination by a third expert, the local administrative court annulled the stay of execution decision. The people of İkizköy filed a complaint against the expert committee, claiming that the report was untrue, and immediately applied for a stay of execution.

While the objections and resistance of the people of İkizköy continue, we regret that the cutting has started in the Akbelen Forest. Forest fires, floods and heat waves, the number and frequency of which are increasing in Türkiye and in the world due to the climate crisis, are getting deeper day by day as a result of deforestation. As non-governmental organisations working on climate change and nature protection, we would like to repeat our previous calls.

Deforestation should not be allowed for the continuity of thermal power plants, which cause premature deaths and are one of the main causes of the climate crisis. Fighting the climate crisis is possible by working with nature, not against it. We cannot sacrifice forests, which store more than half of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions we have caused in the last 10 years, for the sake of coal power plants that threaten natural areas, climate and the lives of all living things.

Our demands for Akbelen Forest:

  • To immediately halt the cutting of the 780-decare Akbelen Forest, an old and natural red pine forest that hosts numerous animal and plant species,
  • To annul the decision giving permission to operate mines in the Akbelen Forest area,
  • To subject the mining area expansion project within the license area no. 86541, which also includes the Akbelen Forest, to an Integrated Environmental Impact Assessment in order to address their total (cumulative) impacts, together with capacity increase projects of the Yeniköy and Kemerköy thermal power plants, other coal mines in the region, Yatağan Thermal Power Plant, other mining and activities such industrial agriculture as required by legislation,
  • To ask the public about the plans for extending the life of the power plants and mines.


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