Tree cutting continues in Akbelen

Local people and environmentalists continue their protest in the Akbelen forest, in the village of İkizköy in Muğla, against the building of a coal mine.

After days of vigil by the local people and environmental activists, tree cutting was supposed to be stopped in the Akbelen Forest in Muğla's Milas district, as the governor’s office announced the suspension of the work on Sunday.

The protest began after YK Energy, co-owned by Limak Holding and İÇTAŞ operating the Yeniköy and Kemerköy thermal power stations, had obtained the necessary permissions to open 740 decares of land within the Akbelen forest in İkizköy to convert it to an open coal mine providing lignite for the thermal power stations. The company, however, met with the resistance of the İkizköy villagers. 

A tree logging team from the Forest Administration entered the Akbelen forest at 6am on 17 July 2021, and cut nearly 30 trees before the İkizköy villagers reached the spot. The villagers have been keeping a vigil in the forest ever since.

After 7 days of vigil, which was attended by more people every day, the governor of Muğla announced on Sunday that the tree cutting had ended. Yet, deforestation work has continued today on the hill overlooking the camp where the protesters are located.

The activists started to march towards the scene, but were blocked by the soldiers stationed in the area to confront the protesters. Masses continue keeping vigil in the forest to stop any attempt at further clearing of trees.