Cabinet authorized the State Waterworks Authority (DSİ,) the Energy Market Regulatory Agency (EPDK) and certain municipalities to enact the "express nationalization" of real estates to allow for the construction of hyrdroelectric plants and dams through a decision published in the Official Gazette.
The measure is going to accelerate the destruction of nature and force locals to emigrate by depriving them of their real properties, according to Cömert Uygar Erdem, a lawyer working for the Environment and Ecology Movement (ÇEHAV) and a member of the Ecology Collective.
Ömer Şan, the term spokesman for the Fraternity of Rivers Platform, also highlighted the fact that the decision simply ignores previous court verdicts.
"War time laws now apply in the battle for investment"
The Council of State had already ruled to stay the execution of an earlier decision by Cabinet to grant the EPDK the authority to enact the "express nationalization" of real properties in 2004 in a trial regarding energy transmission lines by Peri Creek in the eastern province of Tunceli (Dersim,) lawyer Erdem noted.
The Council of State had based its verdict on the fact that the decision in 2004 involved a "transfer of authority," Ömer Şan also said in a written statement, adding that this time around Cabinet issued separate decisions for each project to circumvent that legal hurdle.
"Companies were not allowed to purchase [locals'] real properties through bargaining. Now, they are going to confiscate people's properties and estates with much greater ease and speed with this decision," lawyer Erdem said.
"People will be forced to emigrate and deprived of their properties when [authorities] confiscate their real estates. There were already similar measures in force until [now...] The process is going to accelerate due to this decision, and the destruction of nature will [gather speed,]" he said.
"War time laws used to grant the authority to enact 'express nationalization' for stated purposes of defense. That is what this situation resembles. In times of war, [authorities] used to nationalize real properties, but there really was a war in those times. Now, the only war is for investment," Erdem added.
"They are trampling upon the laws"
Ömer Şan also said the decision ignored earlier court verdicts and clearly trampled upon existing regulations and the rule of law.
"As also stressted in article 27 of the Nationalization Law, the authority for "express nationalization" is [reserved for] extraordinary circumstances and homeland defense. Under its current form, it is impossible to use the authority to enact "express nationalization" for these projects, [as] it is a norm of war time laws," he said.
"As this decision clearly demonstrates, our natural habitats have been left to the mercy of the EPDK, which runs such [projects] with commercial profiteering concerns while [blaming] the "energy deficit" for it," Şan said.
"[Courts] ruled to stay the execution and to annull [such decisions] in over 100 suits out of more than 120 filed in the process of this struggle for survival. These decisions lay bare the fact that these projects clearly run counter to the current body of laws, public good, the constitution, the regulations, international agreements, reason and science," he added.
Şan also reminded of a statement delivered by Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız some 15-20 days ago indicating that Turkey has a surplus, not a deficit, of energy:
"[This statement] is an indication of the unrealism and baselessness of the [the government's insistence on the construction of] hyrdoelectric, thermal and nuclear plants," he said.
Areas designated for "express nationalization"
Cabinet authorized certain municipalities to enact "express nationalization" for projects that fall under their "Urban Transformation and Renewal" scheme.
The EPDK and the DSİ were also granted the authority to nationalize estates for the projects below:
*The Sema Regulator and hydroelectric plant in Ankara and the neighboring central province of Kırıkkale
*The Köprükale Regulator and hydroelectric plant in Kırıkkale's Yahşihan district
*The Eğlence-1 hydroelectric plant in the districts of Karaisalı and Aladağ in the southern province of Adana
*The Alabalık Regulator and hydroelectric plant in the district of Olur in the northwestern province of Erzurum
*The Kandil Dam and hyrdoelectric plant in the districts of Ekinözü, Elbistan and Göksun in the eastern province of Kahramanmaraş
*The Dağdelen Regulator and hydroelectric plant in Kahramanmaraş's Afşin, Elbistan and Göksun districts
* The Ağkolu hydroelectric plant-Ulubey DM Energy Transmission Line in the district of Ulubey in the Black Sea province of Ordu
*The Bekirli Thermal Plant and the İçdaş Biga Thermal Plant in the northwestern province of Çanakkale
*The Akdere Regulator and hydroelectric plant in the district of İnegöl in the northwestern province of Bursa
*The Kandilli TM2-Kozlu DM ENH and the Kandilli TM2-Bölücek ENH in the districts of Merkez and Karadeniz Ereğli in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak
*The Eğlence-II hydroelectric plant in the district of Karaisalı in the southern province of Adana
*The Çankırı-Koyunbaba Dam under the Çankırı-Açıcay 1st Merhale Project in the central province of Çankırı
*The Gökbel 1-2 hydroelectric plants in the western provinces of Isparta and Burdur (EKN)