Solidarity visit to Turkey
The public prosecutor decided to only open the case against Karaca and others and chose not to initiate proceedings against Koza Altin. They faced a trial with the prospect of 6 years’ imprisonment if convicted.
In November 2012, Agneta Johansson, Board member of the Right Livelihood Award, went to Dikili to observe the trial of Turkish environmentalist Hayrettin Karaca (2012, Turkey) from TEMA Foundation, as mining company Koza Altin Madencilik A.S had filed a complaint against him.
On 17 April 2010, Karaca went to Kozak, a region in the western part of Turkey, where gold mining companies operate, for a fact-finding visit and to support the local movement against the gold mining. After a public meeting with the villagers, the locals took Karaca, activist lawyer Hasan Namak and others to state owned forest land where the mining company Koza Altin was cutting 7,400 trees. When Karaca started to take photos of some tree and plant species, three cars appeared and its passengers – claiming to belong to the mining company – insulted, intimidated and threatened Karaca, Namak and the locals. The employees of the mining company thus restricted their freedom of movement in what was clearly a public street.
Whilst Karaca and Namak filed a complaint against the mining company for harassing them, the company registered a complaint against them and the locals for trespassing and disturbing their business area. The public prosecutor decided to only open the case against Karaca and others and chose not to initiate proceedings against Koza Altin. They faced a trial with the prospect of 6 years’ imprisonment if convicted.
Finally, all charges of illegal trespass against were formally withdrawn at the hearing at the Criminal Court in western Dikili. As the mining company continued to press charges against the other defendants, notably Namak, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation declared that it was “only logical for the complaint against Mr Karaca’s co-defendants to also be withdrawn immediately”.