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Yuvarlakcay water movement, Turkey


Based on the law issued in 2001, AKFEN Company hired the Yuvarlakcay Streams water use rights for 49 years to build a tunnel type HPP in 2009. The company cut down 1000 red pine trees (including the monumental ones) overnight in the area. People of the six villages around the stream heard of the project in this way and invaded the construction site. With the support of eco-tourism activists from Dalyan, the villagers started both civil and legal actions. The company was exempted from an EIA report in the licence process due to the HPP construction with a lower energy source (lower than 10 MW) but a motion for stay of execution is adopted in the lawsuit opened by the villagers and EIA report becomes compulsory. The company withdrew its project and villagers one-year resistance come to an end.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Yuvarlakcay water movement, Turkey
State or province:Mugla
Location of conflict:Koycegiz, Beyobasi
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Water access rights and entitlements
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

In this project, starting 300 meters away from the source stream Yuvarlakay, the water would be taken into the 2.235 km connection tunnel and brought to an altitude of 70 meters, from where it will start to flow to produce electricity of 3.5 kW/year

Project area:18000
Level of Investment:Annual water use licence is worth 11.500 USD.
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:15,000
Start of the conflict:12/2009
Company names or state enterprises:AKFEN from Turkey
Relevant government actors:DSI- General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Turkish Water Council, Nature Association, Turkish Water Movements, Black Sea Uprising Platform, Republican Peoples Party (CHP in Turkish acronym) Mugla Provincal Organization, WWF, TEMA - Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats.
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Villagers Trade chambers
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession
Other socio-economic impacts-Income loss (potential)
-Difficulties in water acces (observed)
-Damage to cultural/natural heritage (observed)
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Violent targeting of activists
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:Retraction of the project and utilization of the area for the recreational tourism purposes
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:This case is the first example of anti-HPP campaign and after winning all the lawsuits against this case, all other projects have to prepare environmental impact assessment report. Small scale hydroelectrical projects like this which have been exempted before have to present an EIA report.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

[click to view]



References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

ISLAR, M. 2012. Struggles for recognition: privatisation of water use rights of Turkish rivers. Local Environment, 17, 317-329.

ISLAR, M. 2012. Privatised hydropower development in Turkey: A case of water grabbing? . Water Alternatives, 5 376 391.

HAMSICI, M. 2011. Dereler ve syanlar. Notabene: Istanbul.

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Yuvarlakcay Conservation Platform website:
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Video - Direniin Rengi Kyllerden Rap (Color of the resistance: the villagers Rap Turkish)
[click to view]

Video: 100 Gunde Yuvarlakcay gecilmez (100 Days of Yuvarlakcay: No Pasaran - Turkish)
[click to view]

Photo Gallery: images from the resistance movement
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Mine Islar
Last update08/04/2014
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