Plans to move charcoal furnaces cause uproar
CONTROVERSIAL charcoal furnaces near Güzelyurt may be moved to Yılmazköy, under plans revealed this week to uproar from local residents.
The furnaces being moved to a site below the upper part of the village, beneath the area’s Atatürk statue, will be converted to a modern, new smokeless charcoal-production system, Güzelyurt District Office announced in a bid to allay public concerns.
The office is to meet Environmental Protection and Forestry officials to discuss the initiative, which it then aims to take to ministers for approval.
But angry Yilmazköy residents told reporters they were vehemently opposed to the business — known as “gaminis” and currently believed to number 10 to 12 — relocating near their homes and would demonstrate to stop it.
Villager Mehmet Şahin said officials had previously proposed to move the furnaces, in their updated, smokeless form, to land behind the Middle Eastern Technical University (Metu) campus.
“Now say that they will be moved to Yılmazköy because if any problem arises it could leave Metu under a pall of smoke,” he said.
Eyüp Köse added: “But what about us? Wouldn’t that affect us too?”
Güzelyurt District Officer Savaş Orakçıoğlu said once the new ovens were set up, old-style existing ones in Güzelyurt would be removed.
Ercan Poyraz, director of the Forestry Department which has the authority to issue permits for the furnaces, said he expected any decision by the three departments to be implemented within a month.
Doğan Sahir, head of the Green Action Group, expressed scepticism, saying it was just a ploy to move the furnaces closer to remaining woodland.
“Due to the lack of planning [here] we have become a country with few wooded areas . . . There is no proper policy regarding what type of wood will be burned . . . [and] as long as we don’t have a proper policy nothing will change.”
The previous government had last December ordered the closure of “gaminis” in an anti-pollution drive, but the decision was rescinded by the current coalition in April.