Sarı Yazma Resistance


This short article focuses on neoliberalism transformation on society and water issue in Turkey. After that Kure Mountains National Park are introduced and then it continues Hydroelectric Power Plant Project and finally Sarı Yazma Resistance is explained. This work generally seeks an answer this question; What is Sarı Yazma Resistance and there are three subquestion in this work;

  1. What kind of interest has state and private sector about neoliberal water policy?
  2. What kind of damage of HPP is there in region and local people?
  3. What did they call it “Sarı Yazma”?

Keywords: Neoliberalism, Globalization, Hydroelectric Power Plant, Kure Mountains National Park, Loch Valley.


Neoliberal transformation which started with Özal’s policies in 1980s and increased with Ak Party’s policies have diffused to each party of society in Turkey. This neoliberal economic policies and globalization reflect and transform Turkish society seriously. Neoliberalism is basically that state retires the economy and private sector take place dominant in the economy. In 1980s Reagan and Thatcher stated this policy against social democracy and it became a phenomena in the world. Parallely Turgut Özal was representative of neoliberal economy policy in Turkey. Actually we can generally  match cooservatists and neoliberalists. In this direction, right side policy makers are more close to neoliberal economic policy than left side ones  in the world. Therefore AK Party Government is carrier neoliberalism in Turkey.

The ways which made by governments in past, today made by private sector with bid. The period which is live in, even education serve is shared between government and private sector. It is not subject to answer to support of neoliberalist policies but superstructure started transforming infrastructure and infrastructure reacts to this transformation. The most important example of this reaction is Occupy Movement around the world against neoliberalism. Occupy Movements were not a local movement, a public resistance. But also effects of this type of resistance against neoliberal policies have showed themselves on local level for a long time and they had and have been more effective relatively than public ones. Because this resistances can take some results such as canceling project. Local resistances have gone on against hydroelectric power plants and thermal energy plant etc. in Turkey.

1. State View: From Subscriber To Customer

Question: What kind of interest has state and private sector?

The issue of energy have been affected by neoliberal policies. Both education, health system and energy, use of water, even nature have privatized with current policies. States are in competition other units like multinational companies or states. Neoliberalism is a way by coping the competitions. A speech of Hasan Köktaş in International Energy Congress in 2014 is “Our position’s definition came from subscriber(abone) to customer. Energy is not public service anymore, it came to such as trade. It turned into from a structure which was under guarantee of state to a structure which is competitive, taking risk.”[1] Once upon a time energy was a public service, with some neoliberal policies the “service” has been handed over private sector by government. And relation between state and individual gets level of individual and private sector. Breaking off traditional state understanding was presented the context of a democratization and liberalistic discourse. According to this discourse, state’s withdraw of economy both will have rescued burden of bureaucracy and stopped elits’ domination on economy. [2]

State withdraw the old services and hands over private sector but our subject energy and especially hydroelectric power plant. “Water was not sought neither market property or public property. It was a part of nature and life. Starting to come to each home of water has been set process of commodification. Hammering and packing of water make easy to sell and buy as a market property.” [3] The main reason of marketization of the water is neoliberalism and globalization. State’s argument is that water is a limited resource and should be regulated to use efficiency. According to Republic of Turkey Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, “the main goal is energy efficiency. It means the reduction in the energy consumption per unit or product amount without leading to the decrease of the life standard and service quality in buildings and the production quality and amount in industrial enterprises.”[4] Therefore water control belongs state and state can profit this right by the agency of private sector. As we see on our bill we pay for water and attach with it.  

A type of hegemony which is consent was built up under public by contracting this discourse. More quality understanding of service in this form was tried to believe to people. But these projects have been reacted by local people when they understood that these are very harmful for themselves. For example in Aegean region, thermal energy plant affected negatively olive harvest, so the energy policy affected people of region economically and healthy. In this view public opinion constructed against this policy and have resisted in order to stop them.

1.1. Hydroelectric Power Plant


A typical hydro plant is a system with three parts: an electric plant where the electricity is produced, a dam that can be opened or closed to control water flow, and a reservoir where water can be stored. The water behind the dam flows through an intake and pushes against blades in a turbine, causing them to turn. The turbine spins a generator to produce electricity. The amount of electricity that can be generated depends on how far the water drops and how much water moves through the system. The electricity can be transported through long-distance electric lines to homes, factories, and businesses. [6]  According to Orya Energy which is trying to build up HPP in the region, “HPP renewable energy source water, environmental pollution and nature without harming the electrical energy. “[7]  But damming rivers may destroy or disrupt wildlife and other natural resources. Some fish, like salmon, may be prevented from swimming upstream to spawn. Technologies like fish ladders help salmon go up over dams and enter upstream spawning areas, but the presence of hydroelectric dams changes their migration patterns and hurts fish populations. Hydropower plants can also cause low dissolved oxygen levels in the water, which is harmful to river habitats.[8] Water levels downstream will drop and animal and plant life can be harmed. In addition, reservoir water is typically low in dissolved oxygen and colder than normal river water. When this water is released, it could have negative impacts on downstream plants and animals. To mitigate these impacts, aerating turbines can be installed to increase dissolved oxygen and multi-level water intakes can help ensure that water released from the reservoir comes from all levels of the reservoir, rather than just the bottom. [9]  In addition dams are affected negatively human health because of climate change of realm and public economy because if there is no access of water, people cannot live and earn their living.

According to Republic of Turkey Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, “Hydroelectricity plants work in harmony with the environment, are clean, renewable, and highly productive plants with no fuel expenses. They take on the role of an insurance in energy prices, have a long lifespan, low operating costs, and are not dependent on imports.”[10] “With reference to The Energy Productivity Legislation Numbered 5627 has ruled since 4.18.2007.”[11]

2. Sarı Yazma and Public View: Cultural Background and Relations with Culture and Water

Question: What kind of damage is there in region and local people?

Question: What did they call it “Sarı Yazma”?

Solaklı Valley, where is in Çaykara, Trabzon, Resistance was one of the most important and featured struggle against Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP in English, HES in Turkish) in starting 2011. [12] The article of Sıla Pelin Oğuz stated that relation between resistance of Solaklı and the region’s culture and continued poor environmentalism and public environmentalism. Resistance of protection Loch (Loç) Valley in Cide, Kastamonu is an example that likes Solaklı issue against HPP.

Named of Sarı Yazma Resistance based on relation between water and culture in this background. Reason for the name of Sarı Yazma is that Sarı Yazma is a traditional scarf and sign in Western Black Sea Region from Zonguldak to Sinop but especially Kastamonu. Even the name of a Rıfat Ilgaz novel was Sarı Yazma as well.

Regions with lack of water are lived collectively and near water. Generally scattered settlement are seemed in Black Sea Region. Even villages with almost 20 house are there because of no lack of access of water. Water is everywhere in this region because of rich both ground and underground water. That is why water is resource of life. For villagers who  have gone on their life with ranch and agriculture, water is vital to survive their life. Economical relation built up with water reflects sociology of realm. Washing clothes by hand in river, getting cattles on river, opening fountain for charity and cleaning this regularly are both an activity and necessity. Appearing the water by digging is a reality of the realm. But with government’s neoliberal policy “using water effectively and efficiently” makes the region an attractive point. Bartın River which is he only stream making transportation feeds all of this regions and Kure Mountains gets attraction point to build up HPP. Kure Mountains is a national park like Yellowstone, Central Park etc and it requires the protection. There are Valla Canyon , Ilıca Waterfall, Horma Canyon and having the most number of cave in Kure Mountains. The park includes about 100 caves. Kure Mountains National Park is the national park that includes the biggest number of caves after Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the USA. When it is examined the caves’ features, there is not very potential both length and depth. The deepest cave is Ilgarini cave and 250 m.

The longest cave is Eşekçukur Kuylucu (Çovurmatepe-6) and 1,5 km long at most. The other all caves ranges large and small these two criterions. [13]

Mountains National Park covers of 37.753 hectares, around 134,366 hectares of land is allocated as buffer zone. The area’s total size is 172,119 hectares. There are 8 districts and 123 villages around Kure Mountains. The part of %52 is in Bartın and %48 in Kastamonu. It was declared as a national park in 07.07.2000. Kure Mountains National Park is one of the area of 9 hot spot needed to be preserved in Turkey. In addition to this, it is the first PAN (Protected Area Network) Park area. ( It is declared as PAN Park in 2012). Kure Mountains National Park is important in terms of biological and take its source from different habitat of numerous animal species.[14] 48 out of 160 mammal species [15] that live in Turkey, including wildcat (Felis sylvestris), otter (Lutra lutra), brown bear (Ursus arctos) and Cervus elaphus, can be found here. As for birds, 129 different species were documented until now. Among these, egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is a globally endangered species. In Kure Mountains National Park, there are 113 invertebrate species, 10 amphibian species, 23 reptiles.[16]

Around Kure Mountains National Park, winter is cold, summer is relatively warm but the climate becomes hard towards interior. Rainfall is abundant in coastal region, less in interior areas. The average rainfall is 438 mm in interior areas and it is under the average of Turkey (642, 3 mm). In winter, land covered in snow stays two – three months. The hottest month is July (38, 7°C) in the region, the coldest month is January (-35°C). Number of rainy days is 120-130 days and the rainiest month is May. Kure Mountains National Park located in the western Black Sea has entirely plateau features. The National Park in east-west direction and immediate environment take place within Western Black Sea karst (limestone) belt. In the national park, there are different examples such as a lot of canyons, straits, caves, waterfalls and dolines formed in consequence of eroding in this karstic structure and they have national and international importance. All rivers in the National Park flow northward and reach the Black Sea. The National Park’s most important rivers are Devrekani ve Şehriban (Aydos) rivers and they rise outside of the National Park. Some rivers such as Ulus and Arıt that are Bartın River’s branches rivers rise within the National Park and they go out of the boundaries. Some of them flow into the Black Sea passing through the boundaries of the National Park. Geological structure has a great influence in shaping the rivers within and around the National Park. Water resources in Kure Mountains National Park; Devrekani River, Koca Irmak River, Ulus River (Uluçay), Ulukaya Water Resource, Çöpbey Village Water Resource. [17] The neoliberal government and private sectors wants to construct HPP in Loch Valley where is a region in Kure Mountains. But the HPP will harm the all this region because everything of the region depends on the water. Villiger’s right of water will take their hand and traditional life will break down. In case of HPP, “water regime decreases on the river, fauna and flora and therefore human’s health around the river affects negatively.” [18]

2.1. Process of Protection Loch Valley

2010 change of rule in Turkish legislation which is 6094 numbered rule[19] allows construction of HPP by building facilities[20] in national parks. The issue of Loch Valley started in 2009. Umran Steel Pipe and Orya Energy was the main actors to make HPP.  “Cide HPP and A Type Stone Pit Project” [21] started and struggle was also started by villagers in that time. The villagers tried to stop to this challenge with holding banner writing “Sarı Yazma İsyanda (Sarı Yazma in Rebellion) and “No HPP”.  Especially women who were actors with their traditional sign SARI YAZMA (Yellow Scarf)  in the foreground in the struggle of Cide and also law process was started. Eventually Kastamonu Administrative Court stopped the building “reason of destroying values of environmental and balance of ecology“ in 2010-2011. Presidency of the Council of State (Danıştay) canceled the Report of Assessment of  Environmental Effect reason of destroying seriously to ecosystem in 2015. In spite of certain rejection of Presidency of the Council of State , Orya Energy, with the report which changed only 2 article, applied again to the ministry the process has started back. In this way “Sarı Yazma AGAIN in Rebellion” activities arranged in Istanbul in 2017. This process is going on. Private sector uses finding opportunity and it shows us will not to finish this process. People’s rights of water may be taken to their hand because of implementation of neoliberal energy policy and the water, which was used by this people for ages, can be force to pay with their money.


Neoliberalism forces to transform all part of live and enters and affects our each scopes. Also our rights definitions have changed. Water and accessibility of water have transformed in comparison with previous times. But there also are reactions this policies and they may be successful. The main discourse is renewable energy about HPP but they have a lot of destroying effects to ecology and human live conditions.




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[1] Aslan, Özlem, Sudan Sebepler: Yeni Türkiye’nin Yeni Sevdası: Enerji, İletişim Yayınları, İstanbul, 2016, p.119.

[2] a.g.e. p.134.

[3] Yıldız, Nuran Çakır; Yıldız, Doğan; Yıldız,Dursun; Suyun Ekonomi Politiği  ve  Fiyatlandırma Politikaları, Su Politikaları Derneği, Ankara 2016, p. 10.

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[5]trans: ; access: 16 December 2018

[6] access: 16 December 2018

[7] access: 16 December 2018

[8] access: 16 December 2018

[9] access: 16 December 2018

[10] access: 9 December 2018.


[12] Oğuz, Sıla Pelin, Trabzon Solaklı Vadisi: Ogene Halklarının HES’lere Karşı Mücadelesi, a.g.e p. 201

[13] access: 16 December 2018

[14] vide: access: 16 December 2018

[15] vide: access: 16 December 2018

[16] access: 16 December 2018

[17]  access: 16 December 2018

[18] Gökdemir, M., Kömürcü, M.İ., Evcimen, T.U., Türkiye’de Hidroelektrik Enerji ve HES Uygulamalarına Genel Bakış, İMO Su Yapıları Kurulu, TMH – 471 – 2012/1, p. 22.

[19] access: 16 December 2018

[20] Oğuz, Sıla Pelin, Trabzon Solaklı Vadisi: Ogene Halklarının HES’lere Karşı Mücadelesi, a.g.e p. 207

[21] access: 16 December 2018