Environmental Movements Against the Coalition of the State and Capital: Anti-Gold Mining Struggles in Turkey

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Hayriye OZEN , Political science and Public Administration, Atilim University, Ankara, Turkey
Sukru OZEN , Yildirim Beyazit University, Ankara, Turkey
This paper focuses upon the question of how interactions between environmental movements and corporations and the state shape environmental conflicts and influence the consequences of these conflicts. It comparatively examines three cases that involve different levels of conflicts on the issue of gold-mining in a range of local settings in Turkey, namely, Artvin, Usak, and, Izmir. The data of the study is collected by conducting field research that includes in-depth interviews with the protestors, local people, company managers, and local governmental authorities, and by doing document analysis on the basis of the news in the daily newspapers, company reports, and web sites. Our findings indicate that state authorities and mining multinationals form a ‘pro-mining’ coalition against environmental protesters, developing common strategies and tactics against the protests. The intensity of conflicts between the environmental protest movements and the pro-mining coalition is highly related with the effectiveness of the strategies and tactics that each party to the struggle followed. In those cases where one party is highly effective while the other is not, particularly Artvin and Efemcukuru cases, the conflict is at the lowest level. While the protest movement was the dominant party in the Artvin case, the pro-mining coalition has been the dominant actor in the Efemcukuru case. In Esme case, both protest movements and pro-mining coalition are effective to some extent, making the conflict relatively more intense. Accordingly, environmental movement in Artvin is the most successful one in terms of producing intended outcomes, whereas the movement in Efemcukuru is the least successful one. In Esme, both parties to the struggle have some successes and failures.