Press release #1

3rd July, 2005



To urgent attention of the members of international press and international community;

This is time to unite for Istanbul.  This is time to mobilize for Istanbul. This is time to raise our voices and get mobilized for the existence, memory, and well-being of this ancient city. This city is our home, life narrative and lover. She is our body and soul to whom we promised to eradicate from each of its corners the occupation of dark figures whose rationality is spoilt by money-green and conscience by concrete-grey.

We, as defenders of life, today launch the campaign, “Stop the Killer Projects! Be the Breath of Istanbul!” We declare that we shall protect and defend the city of Istanbul in each tree and street of her, and she in all, tried to be ruined by the mega partnership of the capitalist companies and their political power.

The Northern Forests of Istanbul, as a complete ecological structure, as the “lungs” of the Marmara Region, as a critical point at the thousands years-old migration routes and as the precondition for the very survival of life in these lands, is the home of more than sixteen million people living in this city; of a wild life; of thousands kinds of migratory birds, endemic plants and is also the ground of the historical memory of all peoples who lived here throughout all ages. The Northern Forests of Istanbul is today under an unprecedented assault, by the mega-killer projects, namely the infamous projects of 3rd Bridge, 3rd Airport and Channel Istanbul. And Northern Forests of Istanbul still resist against the so-called mega projects, killer of the integrity of humans and nature.

The resistance of the forest is our resistance. As continuation of the killer projects mean interruption of entire liveliness of Istanbul; break-down of the Northern Forests as the main source of rain and oxygen of the city; irreversible contamination of our water sources; rapid drought of main lakes of drinkable water; and invitation to permanent water scarcity for the whole region.  It shall mean destruction of right to life of the wild life; of the roes, wild boars, water buffalos, forest dormouses, squirrels, ants, turtles, storks, imperial eagles and fish. It shall mean expropriation of the sources and tools of subsistence of the peasants, their exile to the city, and burning of the city all together with her citizens by the heat islands resulting from the destruction of its climate. Thus it means violation of the right to life of humans, animals and nature; every kind of rural and urban inhabitants.

The killer projects put in jeopardy not only of the Northern Forests but also the existence of the street animals, the ancient habitants of the city.  Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality is constructing concentration camps at locations within the forest borders where more than 40 thousand cats and dogs are planned to be imprisoned or to be exterminated at once. These concentration camps, which are both illegal and destructive for the ecological regions of Istanbul, together with the killer projects, mean extermination of the animals of the city as another step in the gentrification process and making the victims of urban transformation invisible.

We know that the actors who are responsible for this destruction scenario are well aware of the results of their actions. Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan City, still has his signature under the major planning document of Istanbul; Istanbul Master Plan dated 2009, once called by himself as the “Constitution of Istanbul”:

“As the life support systems of the city are under a process of destruction, the ecological values at the northern axis of the city running along the Black Sea coasts, primarily the water basins and forest areas of Istanbul, are closed to risky economic endeavours.”

And further, by the words of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mayor of Istanbul in 1995:

“Making a 3rd Strait Bridge is committing suicide; this is a murder! It is nothing more than killing the green areas left at our northern region by opening it to reconstruction!” (RTE, 27th April 1995).

As time changes, real faces are seen. Now neither of them implements the court decisions which stop the 3rd bridge construction and both evict the villages over the heads of peasants by the 3rd airport construction. And both of them try to market risky endeavours once they declared as the murder of the northern forests. And they are not alone in this nature-killing endeavour. The holding companies associated with the political power known as the “dirty five” since the public release of the monetary scandals at the end of 2013; the big construction companies which are fed by public tenders for years; which are provided immunity against court trials and which are the major actors in nearly all nature destruction projects in the whole country are their partners of crime in this murder.

This is time to defend life against this murderous partnership. This is time to stand up against those who have an eye to the water basins, meadows, lakes, homes of humans and of their life comrades, the animals.

We, Northern Forests Defence and Istanbul City Defence, stand up at streets against the dark decisions of the bargaining tables, by taking the self-repairing power of nature and the self-will of the citizens to sustain the life of their city at our back.

We are hand in hand in this struggle with lawyers who believe in free judgement; with responsible scientists who repeatedly declare the dangers; with professionals who defend the city against arbitrariness; with members of press who do not obey repression and with urban and rural labourers who try to live with their sweat blood.  We stand up just in front of the killer-excavation trucks and just behind the court docks of your job murder cases. We stand up at the heart of the ecosystem which is tried to be killed; inside the killer construction sites.

We declare that we shall circulate the truth; with our reports, documents, news, films and photos and words. We shall declare the trees our sisters; collect signatures in every corner of this city; and build our solidarity with every life defender in every country.  We shall unite in all streets, neighbourhoods and cities. And we shall stand at your door in Ankara in fall.

No more lies we want to listen! No more lies about non-existing forests which even at this stage of murder still have more than 250 million trees. No more lies about non-existing lakes which are dried by filling soil. No more lies about any great and growing economies. No more lies to market destruction as growth.  No more lies about real truths that are even written in your Environmental Assessment Reports.  No more lies about birds: More than 160 kinds of birds are the witnesses of truth and peasants whose lands are appropriated for nothing by urgent expropriation laws of the state of war.

We, as the people of Istanbul, warn the authorities to stop the killer projects. We know that nature is bigger than any authority. And it is self-repairing. Northern Forests, though bleeding now by construction sites, is capable to self-repair. Animals are capable to rebuild their destructed homes. Peasants are capable of growing their children under hundreds years-old oak trees in their villages. We know that it is possible to grow plants while the nature killers are put under trial. Stop the killer projects!

We urge all defenders of life to stand up: We are not late for anything and now we stand up. We shall be on the street on 5th July, Sunday for the first march of our campaign and always to: Be the Breath of Istanbul!

Northern Forests still resist, Istanbul still resists! This is no time to lament but to stop the killer projects! This is time to be the breath of Istanbul. In Istanbul and for Istanbul! We urge international community to build solidarity with our campaign and defend Istanbul as the common value of all ages and all humanity.



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