Turkey suspends construction of mine following protests

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey’s government has suspended the construction of a copper mine in the northeast of the country pending a court a decision, following a week-long protest by opponents.

Residents and activists fear that the mine will ruin the environment and damage forests in the mountainous Cerattepe area, in the Black Sea coastal province of Artvin, which borders Georgia.

Protesters last week blocked a road to prevent construction vehicles from accessing the mine site and there have been almost daily clashes with police since.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said after a meeting with representatives of environmental groups, residents and officials from Artvin on Wednesday that construction won’t go ahead until a court issues a verdict in the case. He also pledged that if constructed, the mine would cause minimal environmental damage.