Our Statements

february 16, 2024

Turkey Must Get Rid of its Ecocidal Mentality

Nine miners working in the İliç region of Erzincan were buried beneath cyanide-contaminated earth following an explosion that triggered a landslide. The landslide, which inundated the open site at which they were working, resulted in the deaths of the mine workers.

The colonialist and self-serving perspective of the Turkish state has led to the formation of a very hazardous and horrific situation. In addition to the nine workers who perished underground, the consequences of the toxic substances have put a large geographic area and environment in jeopardy. This is a scenario that closely resembles the Chernobyl disaster.

As is well known, cyanide-based gold exploration has been prohibited in several countries recently, and the corresponding mines have been shut down because of the devastation caused by the poisonous chemical to the environment. In addition to threatening human life, the cyanide is also damaging the environment, particularly plants, soil, water, and other living creatures. Globally, numerous cases have been reported exposing the impacts of cyanide-based gold exploration. In Turkey, similar incidents have also occurred.

Turkey has more mine-related and toxic chemical-related tragedies than any other country in the world. Numerous times, mines have caused significant catastrophes, the fatalities of thousands of workers, significant harm to the environment, and ecological devastation. Turkey endures such catastrophic events on a regular basis, particularly under the rule of the AKP administration, due to the imperialist and destructive policy adopted for profit and revenue instead of one that is focused on valuing the people, society, and the environment. Under the AKP-MHP-ruled government, there has been rapid growth in this antagonistic mentality and politics against individuals, society, and the environment. The latest example of this is the İliç disaster.

It should be known that human-induced disasters, especially mining disasters, do not only harm human beings and cost human lives but also affect thousands of plant and animal species; micro-organisms which nourish the soil are destroyed and contaminated; water is polluted; and serious damage is inflicted on the entire ecosystem. Nature is damaged just as much as humans. Therefore, when considering and reacting to the disaster, it is inadequate to only consider the impacts on human life as a loss. Of course, human life is precious. But we know that human beings are a part of nature. Human beings exist and live with nature. Without nature, none of us can exist or live. Air, water, and soil—the ecosystem is the source of all forms of life. Nature is our mother as it is what allows us to exist and it keeps us alive. If we pollute, damage, or ultimately destroy nature, we bring about our own end. We need to approach life and nature with such a perspective and mindset. Unfortunately, the AKP-MHP government does not have even a hint of this mentality. In the mentality of AKP and MHP there is no space for taking care of human life and nature in any way; they only care about revenue and material profit. Turkey has been completely handed over to corporations, mafias, leaseholders, and money lords. They themselves are partners of these companies, mafias, contracts, and revenue. Together, they are exploiting Kurdistan and Turkey, massacring it’s nature and destroying it’s ecosystem. In the hands of such an administration, nature and human life in Kurdistan and Turkey are facing great destruction. Mines, toxic chemicals, deforestation, hydroelectric power plants, and dams are increasing by the day.

For years, the AKP-MHP government has been using the strategies designed by the likes of Hitler and Mussolini, employing the “local and national” fallacy to attempt to hide their crimes, to mislead, and suppress Turkish society. Unfortunately, the opposition in Turkey has no ability to reveal the AKP-MHP administration’s false front and make sure the public understands the reality since they also share the same nationalist ideology. The democratic forces are likewise insufficient; they are unable to expose and put a stop to this extortion and anti-human mindset. They are also unable to react swiftly as a united front. For this reason, the AKP-MHP government is able to employ the same fallacies as its predecessors because the public is made to believe that such practices are beneficial.

How really “local and national” the AKP-MHP is was recently exposed in İliç. Could people who truly love their homeland and nation approach it in such a manner? The lives of the miners buried under the earth, the poisonous effects on hundreds of thousands of plants and animals, the contamination of the Euphrates River, and the Mesopotamia basin at risk prove otherwise. All of these instances once again clearly show the AKP-MHP government’s reality and mindset.

The full scope of the toxic landslide at the İliç gold mine remains unresolved, yet it is clear that a true tragedy has been inflicted. This is the AKP-MHP’s Chernobyl. The extent of the threat has been concealed by the government and the state-monopolized media. In an attempt to hide the seriousness of their transgressions and crimes, the AKP-MHP administration is attempting to cloud the agenda by only allowing the human-loss aspect of the disaster to be covered by the media. The only aspect of the issue that is being covered is in relation to the trapped workers.

In actuality, they do not care about or feel anything for the lives of the miners. During the February 6 explosion in Soma, Amasra, it was evident that the AKP-MHP had absolutely no regard for the workers or the people. As a result, the dominant media is completely distorting the truth in order to cover up grave wrongdoing. A very dangerous situation is unfolding. The Euphrates water is becoming contaminated with toxic pollutants, putting the Mesopotamia basin in grave peril. Not just İliç and Erzincan, but Mesopotamia as a whole, is in peril. As is well known, the Euphrates and Tigris rivers combine to form the Mesopotamian basin, which empties into the Persian Gulf before entering the ocean. People, plants, animals, soil, water, and microorganisms are all at risk due to the Euphrates River’s contamination. We are witnessing massive ecological devastation.

In light of this tragedy, we vehemently denounce the profit-seeking attitude of the AKP-MHP, which is antagonistic to individuals, society, and the environment. Every day, the AKP-MHP government is destroying Turkey’s geography and Kurdistan’s natural environment. The circumstances in İliç have once again shown how important and justified it is for us to fight the AKP-MHP ideology. This profit-oriented greed must end; it is inimical to both the natural world and to humankind. Everyone who values people, society, and the environment, including democratic forces, ecologists, and all social segments, must strongly oppose this way of thinking. Turkey and Kurdistan must be liberated from this mentality, nature must be liberated, and life must be democratized.


KCK Executive Council