Struggles over Water
This paper examines social and ecological costs of the Hydro Power Plant (HPP) in Savsat, the Black Sea Region, Turkey. In recent years, HEPs have started to be built in many regions of the country, mainly in Black Sea Region. Black sea region has potential for hydro development because of its mountainous environment and fast flowing rivers. The local people living in the project areas and many non-governmental organizations (NGO) protest these projects and do not want them to be built because of the environmental and social consequences of the projects. The government authorities stated that the current water potential of Turkey was not utilized and thus Turkey had to export more energy from abroad. In this paper, the meaning of ecological destruction for different classes or population categories will be examined, emphasizing the process of “selective victimization” and benefit. The arguments are based on information gathered through interviews with 53 local people in the project area, NGO representatives, headmen, and representatives of state officials and reviews of websites, newspapers, and other documents relevant to dam policy in Turkey. It is concluded that these local populations are bearing a disproportionate share of the negative social and environmental “externalities” or consequences of the project because of class, ethnicity, and gender considerations, i.e., environmental injustice. In much of the developing world, access to natural resources such as rivers, forests, etc. is being restricted by the transformation of commonly-held lands (the commons) into “capitalist private property”.