May 26: Joint action in Turkey and Greece against Eldorado Gold

In May 26 a joint action will take place in Greece and Turkey against the canadian mining company Eldorado Gold. The text that follows is the joint declaration of environmental movements that call for the action- see signatories at the end of the text.

Gold mining brings disasters which know no borders

In Turkey, there are 22 gold mines, 19 of which are active. In all of these, gold is extracted by cyanide leaching. At least 20 gold mines have been designed, licensed and are waiting to be activated. 

Just two months ago (February 13th, 2024), the cyanide dam collapsed in the Erzincan İliç Çöpler Gold Mine (owned by the Canadian company Anagold), 9 workers were trapped underneath it and the cyanide was washed into the Euphrates River, which flows through Iraq and Syria. 

Eldorado Gold has two gold mines in Turkey: Uşak Kışladağ and İzmir Efemçukuru. In 2006, 1500 people were poisoned in Kışladağ in Uşak due to cyanide leakage, but we couldn’t prove it because the blood samples were stolen. We also cannot prove the other crimes of these multinational companies because they are immune from the law. But we know that in Turkey, gold is considered more valuable than human and animal life, carbon emissions, cultural assets, people’s subsistence economy. That’s why we are fighting against gold mining.

In Greece, Eldorado Gold took advantage of the economic crisis to achieve a colonial contract, having the backing of the police and the judiciary. It also used part of its workforce in order to attack the resistance. They are planning an open-pit mine in Chalkidiki, which will release millions of tons of toxic dust filled with asbestos. They razed down a huge forest and mountain area, leading to a contamination and lack of water, and the destruction of archeological sites.

Eldorado has also set up a tax avoidance scheme through the Netherlands and the Barbados Islands. 

The recent catastrophic floods in Greece proved that the gigantic waste dams that Eldorado is going to build can easily crumble. Moreover, it is crazy to build such huge toxic dams in an earthquake-prone area.

Eldorado managed to gather some local support exploiting the need of workers for a job in an area with high unemployment levels. Now that the company got all the permits it needed, it is attacking miners demanding a 12-hour working day!

We believe that the wealth of our land is its nature and its people. Eldorado is destroying both. That’s why we fight to kick Eldorado out, restore the area and turn it away from mining, in a direction which does not put profits above people and nature.

– We fight against mining, which pollutes and destroys not only local ecosystems but also wider areas, damages the health of  workers and residents as well, and also significantly contributes to the climate crisis. What is more, due to the intensification of extreme weather conditions, caused by the climate crisis, entire areas where mining takes place are at risk of major ‘natural’ disasters (floods, etc.). 

– At the same time, we denounce our governments which, on the altar of profit, “development” and “investment”, are handing over entire regions to mining companies on colonial terms, while allowing them to operate unchecked, with virtually no control even over basic measures of protection of the environment and workers.

– We stand in solidarity with all the militant movements that oppose mining and are subjected to harsh repression orchestrated through close collaboration between governments, corporations, the police and the judiciary.

– The struggle against mining is also a struggle against war. The deepening economic crisis is exacerbating geopolitical rivalries, the struggle for domination over energy resources and raw materials, the arms race and the intensification of nationalist confrontations. More and more regions are experiencing the horrors of war while we are on the verge of a general period of intensification of military conflicts throughout the world. The peoples who share the land, sea and air in our region are not enemies, we have nothing to divide, nor do we want to fight and become cannon fodder. Solidarity and the common struggle of the peoples against the interests of the capitalists and their governments is our weapon!

Signatures

Struggle Committee of Thessaloniki against gold mining

Struggle Committee of Megali Panagia

Μας σκάβουν τον λάκκο (the greek coordination of the joint initiative against extractions and war in Turkey-Greece-Cyprus)

EGEÇEP 

Kazma Birak (the turkish coordination of the joint initiative against extractions and war in Turkey-Greece-Cyprus)

Climate Justice Coalition Turkey

Read the text in Turkish here

Read the text in Greek here

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