History of Mount Kaz
Rather you call it Mount Ida or Mount Kaz, the tales of this places are endless in all cultures. From witnessing the Trojan War to the marriage of Zeus and Hera, this mountain has been called a sacred beauty for ages.
According to historians, before the Turkish tribes came in, this mountain was home to the Ancient Greeks, who’d names it Mount Ida after the greek word “idea”, meaning thought, idea. Afterwards the Turkish tribes who were in the early stages of becoming muslim named the mountain after geese, which had significance in their early shamanic beliefs. Now, the mountain is called “Kaz Dagi” which translates to “Mount Goose” in Turkish.
Leaving its name history aside however, this mountain is significant in terms of various aspects. It is located in Canakkale, a city famous for its agriculture. It has immense biodiversity. And as mentioned before, its cultural significance is invaluable.
Cultural Significance of Mount Kaz
So I would like to refer to a question asked by 140 Journos in their documentary “Alti Ustu Kaz Daglari”. What is the monetary value of a sacred land? For how many millions of dollars would you sell your culture, your history? This question sounds funny at first, as these things are values beyond monetary measurements for most of us. When talking about Canakkale, or Gallipoli as it’s often called by the Europeans, we need to look at it from a historical point of view.
These same land the government is selling off are the land occupied by Western countries 100 years ago. To oversimplify it, this city was a turning point in the Turkish War of Independence. So how have we reached an era, only four generations later, where we can sell these lands off to foreign mining companies?
It isn’t this one mountain in question here. The use of chemicals such as cyanide is a threat to the whole ecosystem. Canakkale is one of the few cities who has found the balance between modernity and tradition, city life and agriculture. Destroying these mountains could affect the whole agricultural set-up of the city as cyanide is a chemical that can seep into the water and into the rain.
Before we further discuss the ethics of destroying this region, let’s first observe the destruction in question.
Alamos is a Canadian mining company who has started a gold mining project in the Mount Kaz region. You might say “Well if such a valuable area is being destroyed there must be an economic revenue to the area.” The funny part about this is that although the Turkish partner companies have reportedly received “865 million TL” from this investment, only a share of 4% actually goes to the locals. All while it is projected that for an investment of 400 million TL, Alamos itself will have earned 4 billion USD from this project as a whole.
Now that we’ve established that the local economy won’t be benefitting from this project let’s look at its deforestation effects. According to the Turkish Government, only 13.000 trees were cut. However, TEMA, a deforestation NGO claims more than 200.000 trees have been cut. Looking at the photo, you are free to believe whichever claim you’d like.
Now, let’s move on to the most controversial subject: the use of cyanide. The Turkish Government claims that no cyanide has been used in the process. Yet, Alamos has had to reveal on multiple occasions while discussing their procedures that Cyanide is used very often in their projects.
In the past 25 years, we’ve seen more than 30 accidents related to the use of cyanide. The government and Alamos both claim that since the only water dam in Canakkale is on higher grounds than where the mining is being done, it is impossible for any substances to reach the water being contained. Clearly, the opinions of scientists and NGOs are of no importance to them however, as it is evident that this is but an excuse. There are many different ways in which toxic chemicals can be released into the water.
For example, the underground waters being polluted could provide an entry way to the dam. Or, the rain via the ecological cycles that even middle schoolers are aware of could be another example.
This is not a singular event. This isn’t about just one mountain or one agriculture city. This is about the widespread attitude of allowing nationally important lands to be sold off for mining purposes.
Land shouldn’t be for sale. A centimeter of soil takes 200-400 years to form. What amount of money will it take for us to finally realize that history is not for sale. That you can’t buy nature. That you can’t negotiate with science.