`Court Orders Halt to Coal Mining Operation in Turkey’s Olive Groves - Olive Oil Times

Court Orders Halt to Coal Mining Operation in Turkey’s Olive Groves

By Paolo DeAndreis
May. 6, 2022 12:03 UTC

New min­ing oper­a­tions in olive grow­ing areas in Turkey have been halted by a deci­sion of the Council of State.

The 8th Chamber of the high­est-rank­ing admin­is­tra­tive court in the coun­try has opted for a tem­po­rary stop to con­duct a closer exam­i­na­tion of the issue.

Local media reported that the coun­cil made its rul­ing because the government’s deci­sion to allow the min­ing oper­a­tions appeared to con­tra­dict the country’s Olive Growing Law No. 3573.

See Also:Turkey Suspends Exports of Agricultural Products, Bulk Olive Oil

The law reg­u­lates olive grow­ing oper­a­tions by estab­lish­ing prin­ci­ples and para­me­ters such as the min­i­mum sur­face exten­sion of the groves, pro­ce­dures to inter­act with local author­i­ties and other require­ments con­nected to olive oper­a­tions and pub­lic fund­ing.

The Council of State added that the new reg­u­la­tion brought for­ward by the coun­try’s rul­ing Justice and Development Party (AKP) could also prove against the pub­lic inter­est.

The AKP has argued that the reg­u­la­tion is nec­es­sary to exploit the country’s exten­sive coal reserves in Turkey’s west­ern Aegean region and its south­ern coast­line with the Mediterranean Sea. These regions also coin­cide with the most rel­e­vant olive-pro­duc­ing areas in the coun­try.

Opposition par­ties and farm­ers’ asso­ci­a­tions have crit­i­cized the new rules. Mustafa Tan, chair­man of the board of Turkey’s National Olive and Olive Oil Council, told Olive Oil Times that no trees had been removed as of the sec­ond week of March, but we are wor­ried that it will begin soon.”

There are roughly 500,000 fam­i­lies who are olive pro­duc­ers in Turkey, and around 10 mil­lion peo­ple ben­e­fit from the indus­try directly or indi­rectly,” he added. A very mean­ing­ful amount of the 190 mil­lion olive trees will be neg­a­tively affected even­tu­ally by the min­ing oper­a­tions.”

AKP advo­cated for the min­ing oper­a­tion to expand due to the ongo­ing cri­sis in the inter­na­tional energy mar­ket caused by the Russian inva­sion of Ukraine.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal is Turkey’s most rel­e­vant energy source. Additionally, the coun­try has seen its energy demand sky­rocket since 2010, well above the aver­age growth reported by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for its mem­ber coun­tries.

Turkey is also one of the world’s most impor­tant olive oil pro­duc­ers. According to International Olive Council data, Turkish olive oil pro­duc­tion for the 2021/22 crop year will reach 227,000 tons. Only Spain and Italy, tra­di­tion­ally the two largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing coun­tries, yielded more olive oil this year.


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