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The Bourgeoisie set its eye on the rivers!

by MLCP (Marxist Leninist Communist Party Turkey / North Kurdistan), 5 October 2011

One of the areas in which the Turkish bourgeoisie and its AKP government have made “big moves” within the last years, are the devastation of nature. First of all in the Black Sea region and in some cities of Kurdistan, the struggle against the construction of hydroelectric power stations (HPS) and other ecological devastations is growing.

The bourgeois economic institutions have underlined in their data about economic growth above all the energy dependency, which is in this sense the biggest problem of the Turkish bourgeoisie and in the centre of its efforts. In 2000, the energy dependency of Turkey was 67 %. Today it comes to 72, 4 %. The Turkish big bourgeoisie, which openly announced its aim to become one of the 10 most developed countries of the world, is obliged, even if we leave away this big aim, also today to find ways of reducing its energy dependency in order to continue the growth of its economy. The current account deficit of the bourgeois Turkish state results in 75 % from the energy imports. The energy imports consist of oil and gas mainly coming from Russia and partly from Iran. However, the pushes getting stronger and stronger in the internal and foreign policy can only be continued if the current speed of development of capitalism can be hold and increased. The Turkish bourgeoisie is conscious of that and has increased its projects and researches for alternative energy sources.

In the centre of the projects for “reducing the dependency from abroad in the field of energy” are, next to savings in private consumption (consumption apart from production) and research-development projects for alternative energy sources like photovoltaic energy from methane hydrate and hydrogen sulphide, the nuclear energy, as the vice prime minister Ali Babacan is also permanently repeating. The search for foreign investors for the nuclear power plant planned in Sinop and Akkuyu-Mersin are going on. Moreover, there is a project for a plant in the south of the country, where they want to profit important position in terms of geo-strategy due to the peculiarity of being an important junction of the gas and oil pipelines passing there. Bourgeois specialists and counsellor of the government are complaining that it made not enough profit out of the occupation of Iraq concerning oil investment and admonishes the AKP to not miss again a chance with Libya. The efforts to make energy agreements with the neighbouring states are increasing. Georgia, Iraq and Iran are countries with which relations in this area are established.

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Another aspect is the comprehensive projects for “renewable” energy sources, first of all in the field of wind and water energy, like the construction of hydroelectric power stations (HPS) which is proceeded right now in great proportions. It is planned to construct HPSs all over the country, in first place at the Black Sea and secondly in North Kurdistan. The reason for which the government insists that much in the HPS despite the fact that they would only cover a very small share of the energy requirement even if all the planned HPS would be build is that they are build above all in order to get rents in short term, although in medium-term they shall also play a role in the area of energy.

Until now, projects for 1600 HPS at hundreds of rivers are elaborated concretely and construction of some of them already started. Among them are also the river Alakir in Finike, the Akcay river and the Firtina river in Rize, whose valleys are wildlife protection areas for flora and fauna and which have the status of national parks. Until 2023 construction of 4000 HPS in total is planned. In order to overcome the legal obstacles, the government plans to pass a law giving the authority to declare areas of nature reserve from the autonomous institution to the ministry of environment and forests. The companies winning the contract for HPS projects will get the rivers together with all its products for 49 years.

The ongoing construction work of the hydroelectric and thermal power plants first of all sets in motion the dynamics of struggle of the population of the Black Sea. The extension of that struggle could become a basis for the comradeship in struggle among the Kurdish people and the working class and the oppressed of Turkey.

The action of September 19 against the high-tension power line in Rize, the protests organised following the flood disaster on September 24 also in Rize, the clashes between the gendarmerie and the farmers, who wanted to stop the construction of the HPS in Caykara-Trabzon from September 23, the action of the people of Tortum in Erzurum, which stopped by their resistance on September 26 the construction machinery accompanied by gendarmerie brought into the region for the construction of the HPS, the actions taking place under the slogan “freedom for the Hopa prisoners” and the solidarity concert and festival of the population of Ovacik-Dersim are only some of many examples of the growing resistance against the hydroelectric power stations.

On the basis of the HPS already existing it has been proved yet that the HPS presented as “renewable sources of energy” and “ecofriendly” are destroying the life of humans and nature in the hands of the bourgeoisie. In some regions it is planned to build 25-35 HPS at one single brook. The streams and rivers are the lifeline of the climate and the flora of the region. To build so many HPS at one single stream means that the water will flow almost from the spring to the sea through tubes and not a single drop of water will be left for the nature. At those rivers where for now the construction of only one or few HPS is planned, it is highly possible that in future more will be scheduled. Furthermore, several reports of engineers are proving that the projects existing already are depriving the local people and the nature of its lifelines. Moreover, the AKP government representing the Turkish bourgeoisie even set its eye on the water sources used by the local population as drinking water for the construction of HPS. The HPS bear the danger of serious consequences like destruction of the forests, changes in climate and flora and the extinction of thousands of endemic animal and plant species. This means also that the local people lose their soils and source of income and are confronted with mass emigration and impoverishment. In the Black Sea area known as landslide region, the trees are protecting the local people from this nature disaster and the destruction of the trees may lead to heavy landslides. The use of tons of dynamite already during the construction phase can trigger such catastrophes. Dersim and the river Munzur in North Kurdistan are located exactly at a fault line and the accumulation of water masses in artificial lakes of dams over fault lines increase the risk of earthquake not taking up the necessary security measures. After the big damages which the HPS cause already during their construction phase in the biotopes of their environment the problem of transporting the electricity comes to the agenda. Besides the two-lane streets to be build without taking into consideration the nature in forest areas, the whole region has to be covered by high-tension power line for such a big number of HPS. Scientists have proved clearly that those lines increase the risk of brain, lymph node and blood cancer in 70 %.

This statement of representatives of the government is a conclusive example for the attitude of capitalism towards the humankind and nature on the basis of the HPS: “the rivers should not flow in vain”, says the government! Or “only 10 % of the water potential of the countries is used”. The fact, that the rivers and streams maintain the balance of the climate, the trees and vegetation, provide drinking water for the population, are the lifelines for agriculture and natural springs, provide the trees with water, which are the only real protection against landslides means for the government that “the rivers flow in vain”. Because for the bourgeois Turkish state every drop of water which not flows into the save of the capitalists in form of profit but for the people and nature as their lifeline is in vain. By saying that the rivers and streams are not used it is meant that they are not used by the capitalists but by the poor local population.

The contradiction among the productive forces and the relations of production; which means the fact that capitalism has turned for a long time into an obstacle for the development of the productive forces, can be seen also very clearly in the example of the HPS. In socialism, where humankind is in the centre, HPS like many other methods of generation of energy which are today threatening humankind as well as still undiscovered new sources of energy or energy sources which have not been investigated sufficiently due to the exaggerate greed for profit, surely can serve the social production in harmony with the life of humans and nature. The problem is not the development of technology, but that it serves neither for nature nor for the people as it is development on the basis of the law of maximum profit.

Given the example of the hydroelectric power stations it can be also seen, that the propaganda of “natural energies” made by reformist anti-nuclear activist and environmentalists is in vain. In the hands of the bourgeoisie, none of the energy sources is “renewable” or “ecofriendly”. Moreover, no struggle, which does not link the problem of environment with the question of socialism, is capable to develop projects for the sustainability of life for humankind and nature. The only realistic future prospect which understood humankind, society and nature and can integrally satisfy their necessities, is communism.

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