Turkey: Struggling to protect workers’ rights and forests by using FSC

11 October 2019 13:16

Sukru Durmus investigating the conditions at mining area in Ida Mountain, Canakkale

After Canakkale Forestry Directorate applied for FSC certification, TARIM ORMAN-IS, the only Turkish member of FSC International, was invited to comment on the Directorate’s activities by Soil Association in the pre-examination process.

Canakkale has lately hit the headlines due to the public’s negative reaction against the devastating gold mining activities as the project has caused a high-level of deforestation in Ida Mountain. Following this controversial period, Canakkale Forestry Directorate has gone through a pre-examination process by Soil Association to be granted FSC certification. TARIM ORMAN-IS conducted an audit with the participation of the union’s President, Sukru Durmus, on 27 August 2019 to fill out the stakeholder consultation form.

The union filled the form and submitted to Soil Association on 25 September 2019. The union’s comments focused on two aspects of deforestation and harmful effects of mining activities on the environment, as well as precarious and dangerous working conditions for rural forest workers in the area, which have resulted in the death of four workers in the first half of 2019.

Sukru Durmus issued a public statement before the audit and stated, “Canakkale Forestry Directorate has failed to protect forests from harmful mining activities and to protect forest workers from deadly workplace accidents. Therefore, I would like to stress the fact that the Directorate should not certified by the FSC. Today, we are here to report all the violations of FSC standards to Soil Association to block the certification until all necessary measurements will be taken to comply with FSC standards. At this point, we would like to believe that the FSC certification will be one of the effective tools in our struggle to protect workers’ rights as well as the environment”.

TARIM ORMAN-IS supported the People’s March in August to protest the mining projects in the area. The union later conducted a panel on 7 September 2019 to discuss the next steps of the struggle against devastating policies and implementations, which cause deforestation and contamination of natural resources. The panel hosted several academics and environment activists.