Hediye Bas blames the dams, highways and network of tunnels cutting through the wooded Ikizdere Valley in north-east Turkey for choking water supplies and stunting her crops. Now work on a planned quarry is proving a breaking point and eroding her support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Bas and other villagers in Erdogan’s ancestral province of Rize are trying to stop the excavation of 20m tonnes of stone for a new port 40km away on the Black Sea coast.
Dynamite has already blasted off chunks of the mountain for an access road, briefly turning the stream where Bas’ family fishes an unnatural turquoise. For the quarry to operate, up to 1m trees will be felled and explosives will turn nearby vegetable patches toxic, while biodiversity in an adjoining protected area will be imperilled, a local conservation group has warned.
Erdogan “probably thought we would support any project he undertakes here because he wins almost all of our votes. But…