By Nejla Işık, president of the Karadam Karacahisar Association for the Protection, Improvement, and Solidarity towards Nature and Wildlife (KARDOK) in in İkizköy, Türkiye
I live in a village called İkizköy, in the Milas district of Muğla. And I want to share some exciting news: we are about to launch our second report about our region’s options for sustainable climate solutions!
I’m born and raised in İkizköy, and made a life here. I’m a mother of two, engaged in growing olives, farming and raising animals. My community and its surroundings are a huge part of who I am, and things I deeply care about.
Together with other villagers, I have been fighting the coal industry here for years – and it hasn’t been easy. The already existing coal power plants and the ever enlarging coal mines have threatened our health, our lands, and our livelihoods for decades. Since 2019, the coal expansion plans have also been putting one of our last shields and oasis, the Akbelen Forest, at risk. But we stood up and said no. We camped in the forest, stopped logging with our own bodies, and held peaceful demonstrations. As retaliation, our water was cut off, we were beaten by security forces, forcibly removed from the area and prosecuted.
Despite all the injustice we have suffered, we are still trying to protect our forest, our lands, our village, and our world. And we have a vision for the future we want to build – a future where people live longer and healthier lives, where there is less division and marginalization, and where the local economy thrives. That future is based on a Just Transition, away from coal and towards renewable energy and regenerative industries.
Together with 350.org we have been fighting for a Coal Free Milas for years. Our goal is to refocus the local economy. Last year, 350 and partners produced a report and a documentary showing the story of Milas and the benefits of investing in olive production instead of coal. These resources have been instrumental in debunking myths about the coal industry being a necessary source of jobs, and in showing that a more sustainable economy is viable and beneficial for everyone.
With the new report that is coming soon, we are feeling more confident than ever! It expands the research on the solutions and opportunities for a coal-free Milas, giving us tools for keeping pressure up.
350 Turkiye has been closely supporting us for several years, producing content, providing training and joining meetings with local authorities. We know we can trust and rely on them for all kinds of support. They make us feel that we are not alone in this struggle.