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Finike marble and stone quarries, Turkey

An activist couple resists a local quarry and gets it legally shut down. Yet this starts a series of unfortunate events culminating in their murder in May 2017.


A murder case on 10th May 2017 made headlines in Turkey. It took place in a village of the Mediterranean city of Antalya. Aysin and Ali Büyüknohutçu, a couple, were cruelly shot dead in their countryside house. They were highly involved in politics, and very well known for their environmental and consumer rights activism.  Büyüknohutçu was best known for his activism and lawsuits against stone quarries in Finike and the rest of Antalya, in addition to being the chairman of a tenants' rights association and a consumer rights workgroup within the Antalya City Council. With the help of locals and environmentalists, the Büyüknohutçus had been fighting against local stone quarries in Finike's Alacadağ, Gökçeyaka, Kızılcık and Adala villages, which are located among centuries-old cedar and pine forests. In return, the couple experienced constant harassment related to their activism, according to their friends' accounts.(1). For the past 6 years, they were leading both a civil campaign and a lawsuit against destructive stone and marble quarries in Finike, a small agricultural district. The adverse environmental effects of open pit mining and particularly of those in Antalya to the agricultural fields hit the headlines now and then. Over the course of the campaign the couple managed to  shut down the operations of a marble quarry, owned by a company called “Bartu Mermer”.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Finike marble and stone quarries, Turkey
State or province:Antalya
Location of conflict:Finike
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Sand, gravel
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Open pit marble quarry, affecting the community of Finike, including farms and farmers nearby.

Project area:145
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:Bartu Mermer (Bartu Marble) from Turkey - Quarry owner and suspect of hiring the murderer
Relevant government actors:The opposition party members have raised questions regarding the case and requested a special investigation on the connection between the murder and Ali's latest lawsuit.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project cancelled
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Breaking the case in two steps, cancellation of company's operating licence is a success. However the consequent murder of the environmentalist couple is a social disaster. Only then the case would count as an environmental justice success, if it is fully uncovered.
Sources & Materials

(1). Assailant confesses instigation by quarry-linked figure in environmentalist couple’s murder. DAILY SABAH WITH DOGAN NEWS AGENCY. ISTANBUL, May 18, 2017
[click to view]

Suspect of murder of activist couple in Turkey admits to crime
[click to view]

Enviromentalism is a dangerous thing in Turkey
[click to view]

Questions linger on the murder of environmentalist couple in southwestern Turkey
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Ali Büyüknohutçu on a local TV show, portraying the mining area and explaining the adverse effects of quarries (in Turkish).
[click to view]

Ali Buyuknohutcu explaining the whole judicial process (in Turkish).
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Burag Gurden, European Environmental Bureau, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
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