Hydroelectric power plant violates right to life: Turkish Constitutional Court

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A hydroelectric power plant (HES) in a village of the Black Sea province of Rize violates the right to life, Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled, ordering a retrial for a facility that has triggered a chain of protests by locals. 

The court requested a retrial of the case that was opened against the Cevizlik hydroelectric power plant in the village of Soğuksu in Rize, daily a Turkish newspaper reported on May 23.

A positive environmental impact report (ÇED) was necessary for the switchyard built in Soğuksu as part of the Cevizlik Regulator and hydroelectric power plant, but it was never received by the builders of the plant, stated local man Mehmet Kurt in his appeal. 

Kurt said high-voltage transmission lines have to pass over houses in the village as a part of the switchyard, and it has been scientifically proven that the lines emit radiation up to 600 meters away, causing diseases including cancer. 

He also complained about the sound that the plant will make while it is working, saying it would make it impossible for local residents to sleep at night or continue their daily lives. 

Adding that he had not gotten any results from his case regarding the lack of a ÇED for the plant, Kurt argued that “right to live in a healthy environment,” which is guaranteed by 17th and 56th articles of Turkey’s constitution, is being violated by the plant. 

The Constitutional Court has now ruled that the plant violated the right to moral and material existence, sending the case to the Rize Administrative Court for a retrial.  

Kurt had previously filed a complaint to the Rize Administrative Court for the cancellation of the permission that was given to the hydroelectric power plant company by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. The court rejected his complaint.

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