One of a thousand complaints
The complaint had been made by Birsel Lemke from Balikesir, an Aegean province neighboring Izmir. Her lawyer Senih Özay said that the decision set an important precedent, as there were still more than a thousand complaints that had been lodged with the ECHR.
According to Özay, the government had resisted closing the mine despite court decrees to the contrary. Because of the mine the local flora and fauna had been destroyed and was in need of urgent rehabilitation. A conference has been convened this weekend to discuss the process of rehabilitation.
Poisonous cyanide used in extraction
The gold mine had been founded by Eurogold in the 1990s, later sold to Newmont, and finally to Koza Mining Company. Locals have been fighting against the mine since the beginning, since the extraction of gold involves the use of poisonous cyanide.
The Turkish cabinet had given the company special license to continue mining operations in 2002, despite previous rulings by both Turkish courts and the ECHR that the mine was causing too much damage.
In this ruling, the ECHR has decreed that Turkey must pay complainant Lemke 3,000 Euros compensation and 850 Euros for legal costs. The court argued that Turkey had "disrespected private and family life" and that "a fair trial had not taken place". The ECHR did not find it necessary to consider complaints about violations of "the right to life" and "the right to make effective applications to court" separately. (EÖ/EÜ/AG/EÜ)
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