TODAY’S – Ministry of Energy’s sights still set on YIrca power plant

Ministry of Energy’s sights still set on YIrca power plantEnergy Minister Taner YIldIz said his ministry is still thinking about building a coal power plant in an area dense with olive fields despite a recent court decision that halted the project in its tracks, while speaking at a press conference in Ankara on Tuesday.Last week the Council of State ordered a stay of execution on the expropriation of land in YIrca village in the Western province of Soma Villagers were overjoyed upon hearing news of the courtand#39s decision however, more than 6,000 olive trees had already been uprooted in preparation for the Soma Kolin Coal Power Plant.

YIldIz said earlier this month that 9 million trees could be planted with one yearand#39s worth of rent from the plant.andldquoWe are neither abandoning olive groves nor the power plant,andrdquo said YIldIz, who added that there were 150 million tons of coal to be found in the area Turkey is tired of constantly importing natural gas and strongly prefers to pursue local and renewable energy sources, said the energy minister, saying the country was also eager in moving forward with its wind power plants.

Turkey is almost entirely dependent on oil and natural gas imports as the country possesses limited reserves of its own.YIldIz also claimed that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has raised the number of olive trees in Turkey from 99 million to 177 million during its tenure in power andldquoOlive trees are a serious asset, a major source of wealth but so are energy resources,andrdquo he said.

The locals of YIrca village had been resisting Kolinand#39s plans to build the thermal power plant since June 2014, when new energy legislation was enacted that allowed the energy sector to invest in such lands as the olive groves.Locals had stood on vigilante duty for weeks in attempt to prevent the uprooting of the trees.

The villagers were frequently assaulted by private security guards employed by the firm and there were even cases of people being handcuffed and detained against their will without legal authority.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman