Artvin Kabaca Valley Hydro power plant, Turkey


Six small hydroelectric power plants are constructed in the Artvin Kabaca Valley, as part of 200 hydroelectric power plants being constructed or planned to be constructed in the provinces of Rize and Artvin. The constructions result in destruction of forests, destruction of waterbeds and aquatic environment. Fragmentation of natural areas and ravage created by energy transmission lines, destruction of hillsides by earth-moving machinery used in road constructions and filling of river beds constitute subjects of serious contestations not only in the region but also in the country.

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Basic Data
NameArtvin Kabaca Valley Hydro power plant, Turkey
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Interbasin water transfers/transboundary water conflicts
Specific CommoditiesElectricity

Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThough it is very difficult to state precisely, the installed capacity of the 6 hydroelectric power plants in Murgul Kabaca Valley is around 50 MW.

Project Area (in hectares)10000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population5,000-10,000
Start Date2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesAKFEN Holding Co. from Turkey
ZORLU Holding Co. from Turkey
SANKO Holding Co. from Turkey
Relevant government actorsRegional Directorate of Forestry, Regional Directorate of State Hydraulic Works, Regional Directorate of Forestry and Water Affairs
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGroups opposing to the current state of affairs if not categorically opposing to the hydroelectric power plants: WWF, Green Artvin Association, The Turkish Foundation for Combatting Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA in Turkish acronym), Environmentalists of Black Sea
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Great Anatolian March: People from all parts of Anatolia organised a walk that lasted 40 days. Groups departing from different points at the end joined each other in Ankara: They flow to Ankara like rivers and streams and said: 'We shall walk for the sake of our respect for the past and our commitment to the future of our children. To defend nature and our right.'
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Occupational disease and accidents
Potential: Accidents, Other environmental related diseases
OtherPotential allergies and asthma due to constantly living under dust clouds.
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
OtherIncome Loss

Reduced access to water

Loss of cultural heritage
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
New legislation
Violent targeting of activists
Development of AlternativesEnergy efficiency, energy saving, solar, wind, geothermal energy use, energy efficient architectural applications, environmental friendly construction of absolutely must do hydroelectric power plants and zero alternative for certain projects.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Even though the court has adopted a motion for stay of execution due to EIA reports and bad practices and even though cash fine has been handed down, parties in charge of the project continue their activities. If nothing else works, employees of the regional administrative courts are assigned to other places.
Sources and Materials

The legislation is constantly being modified against nature conservation. Concerning the dichotomy of development-conservation, the public is predetermined in favor of development. Policies are devoid of content for a network of protected areas. It is doubtful whether public interest shapes public policy or private interest.


Islar, M. 2012. Privatised hydropower development in Turkey: A case of water grabbing? Water Alternatives 5(2): 376-391

Islar, M. (2012). Struggles for recognition: privatisation of water user rights of Turkish rivers, Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability', 17:3, 317-329.


Great Anatolian March,
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Meta Information
ContributorOguz Kurdoglu
Last update08/04/2014