Updated: Mon, 04/26/2021 - 03:00

The platform was founded in opposition to the building of a power plant in 2009 at Yaykıl village of Gerze district of Sinop province to defend the natural habitat. The Platform has 24 constituents. In 2015, they won their struggle, and the power plant project was cancelled. The lawsuit against 37 people, among whom are constituents of the Platform, resulted 10 years later. They were sentenced 42 years and 10 months in prison and fined 63 thousand TL for violating “the freedom to work and labor”, “obstructing security forces by resisting them”, “damaging public property”, “arson”, “taking part in an illegal assembly or demonstration with weapons” and violating the “law on assemblies and demonstrations”. 

People of Gerze heard about the plans to build a power plant in Çakıroğlu Neighborhood of Yaykıl Village in 2008. The first objections were raised to the company as it received a production license from the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK). The production license was issued prior to the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED) Report; therefore, the village representative Ahmet Tiryaki, Sinop Bar Association and Yaşar Topçu, the former Minister of Transportation, filed a lawsuit against the company for “Suspension of Execution and Cancellation of the Production License”. On July 20, 2009, the 13th Office of the Council of State reached a decision to suspend the execution. It should be noted that the power plant was going to be built on farming and forest land, close not only to wetlands but also to Late Roman- Early Byzantine artefacts. 

Despite the court decision, on January 7, 2009, the company applied for another ÇED with the Ministry of Forests. That led to founding of Yeşil Gerze Çevre Platformu (YEGEP). YEGEP organized informative sessions, seminars and panels and collaborated with universities to draft reports on the possible damage that will be brought to the area by building a power plant there. YEGEP wrote petitions to the ministries, and organized protests. 

On May 3, 2010, they wanted to organize a ÇED information session at Gerze Indoor Sports Facility that would be attended by thousands of people. The session could not take place due to the heavy police intervention with tear gas, and protest of the people against them. 

Defenders of life at Yaykıl village set up a tent there and undertook a watch for three years without a pause. 8,460 people took part in the signature campaign they organized. These signatures were shared with the President, Vice President of the Republic and the Ministry of Environment. Constituents of the platform and others, a total of 40 people, visited Afşin-Elbistan, Sugözü regions where power plants are already located, and interviewed the locals there to share with the people of Gerze. The platform wrote letters to international brands that the company represented in Turkey, the banks company could apply for a loan and explained why the power plant should not be built. 

Company employees who arrived at the site for drilling tried entering the village three times, but the villagers did not let them. On September 5, 2011, the employees arrived accompanied by the gendarmerie forces. Constituents of the Platform and the villagers were taken to court for denying entry to construction equipment and vehicles, on the grounds of violation of  “the freedom to work and Llabor”, “obstructing security forces by resisting them”, “damaging public property”, “arson”, “taking part in an illegal assembly or demonstration with weapons” and violating the “law on assemblies and demonstrations”. 

YEGEP joined forces with Greenpeace in 2011. Greenpeace covered the headquarters building of the company with a banner and left a letter to its executives penned by the people of Gerze. 

The company submitted applications for revised ÇED files in 2012 and 2013. The Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning returned the ÇED report on August 2, 2013. The company applied for authorization with a renewed project in June 2014 once again, but the power plant project was formally rejected for the last time on February 23, 2015. 

US-based environmental organization Sierra Club comments that Gerze Resistance is one of the most important achievements of the anti-coal movement

On January 26, 2021, the 32nd court hearing took place at Gerze Court of First Instance, 10 years after the lawsuit was filed against 37 people in 2011. The defendants were sentenced to 42 years and 10 months in prison.