Gökçeada, Turkey "NO TO MINE, YES TO FUTURE OF MINE"
The Turkish Cittaslow Gökçeada with the support of Cittaslow International opposes the construction of a silver and gold mine.
Turkey’s first “Slow Island” and one of the senior members of Cittaslow Turkey had been shaken by the statement made on December 6th 2017 by the State. Çanakkale Directorate of Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning declared to the public that the Environmental Hazard Evaluation (ÇED) process for a gold and silver mine has been started in Gökçeada’s Yuvacık region by Merih Madencilik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş.
Upon the mine threat, Gökçeada Municipality, all NGO’s in Gökçeada and the residents gathered together for protests with the request of cancellation of the mining license.
The Headquarters of Cittaslow in Italy also interfered in the process, since Gökçeada is a member of the network. Stefano Pisani, President of Cittaslow sent an e-mail to Tunç Soyer, Seferihisar Mayor and Cittaslow Turkey Coordinator declaring that Gökçeada’s membership would regretfully be suspended, if a gold or silver mine would operate on the island.
The newspapers headlines regarding the suspension of Cittaslow membership and Gökçeada residents’ protests made a great impact. On December 14th, 2017, the mining company
Merih Madencilik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. withdraw its request for a ÇED environmental report. The Çanakkale Directorate of Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning’s statement regarding the withdrawal was as it is: “Merih Madencilik made an online request on e-ÇED system for project cancellation on 14.12.2017, which was approved by our Directorate.”
Gökçeada Mayor Ünal Çetin said that they are joyful about the decision and that their confidence into the public proved to be right again. Mayor Çetin said: “In Gökçeada, we were at the edge of a catastrophe because of the mine. Gökçeada joined the Cittaslow network in June 2011 and became the one and only Cittaslow island of the world. We are glad to continue our membership.”
Cittaslow Turkey Coordinator Tunç Soyer made a statement on Gökçeada’s victory: “Hereby one of the most beautiful Cittaslow towns and only Slow Island has been saved. I would like to congratulate Gökçeada residents, who dedicated themselves to protect the nature and heritage of their town and showed strong resistance against the mine. As of all Cittaslow members, we will continue to apply the Cittaslow criterion and protect our towns. Nevertheless, we do have not the luxury to sit back and relax, since similar threats will emerge sooner or later.”