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“Akbelen” from Business and Human Rights Lens


1986: The Yeniköy-Kemerköy Thermal Power Plants which have been operating in the İkizköy region of Muğla became operational. Today, the plants meet approximately 2% of Türkiye’s energy consumption.

2014: Yeniköy-Kemerköy Thermal Power Plants and Kemerköy Port Area were privatized by Turkish Privatization Administration and the operation right was granted to İÇTAŞ Enerji, which submitted the highest bid of 2 billion 671 million USD. Yeniköy Kemerköy Electricity Production Company (YK) was incorporated by İÇTAŞ Enerji and Limak Enerji acquired 50% of YK’s shares from İÇTAŞ.

2021: The company, which intended to expand the coal mining area used by the power plants, including the Akbelen Forest in the İkizköy region, was given permission to deforestation without an Environmental Impact Assessment Report. As a result of the local community’s response and the annulment lawsuit filed against the decision, a stay of execution decision was issued.

2022: The stay of execution decision was annulled with the expert report stating that “the forest is suitable for coal mining”.

2023: A new round of deforestation was begun in the region in July 2023. This led to widespread opposition from local communities, civil society organizations and public in general; which resulted in the involvement of the security forces and the suppression of the protesters.

Yeniköy-Kemerköy Thermal Power Plant and Kemerköy Port Area Projects’ Impacts on Human Rights and the Environment

  • Violation of right to live in a healthy environment people living in the surroundings
  • Loss of livelihoods
  • Deforestation and bio-diversity losses
  • Violation of land rights and forced relocation of local communities

Upholding Human Rights Responsibilities in Project Partnerships: Companies, Financial Institutions and Government

Both public and private actors which are associated to Yeniköy-Kemerköy Thermal Power Plant and Kemerköy Port Area Project, especially;

  • Yeniköy Kemerköy Electricity Production Company (YK), İçtaş Enerji and Limak Enerji as shareholders of YK;
  • TSKB, İş Bank, Garanti Bank, Yapı Kredi Bank, Halk Bank, Ziraat Bank as lenders to YK and its shareholders for the payment of tender price; and
  • Public authorities including gendarmerie and police forces

have human rights and environmental obligations.

Going Beyond National Laws: Human Rights and Environmental Responsibility

Mere compliance to environmental, health and safety laws, regulations and standards (especially Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation and Environment Law) applicable in Türkiye does not waive the corporate responsibility to respect human rights.

The corporate responsibility to respect human rights under United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights exists above and beyond the need to comply with national laws and regulations protecting human rights and environment. It applies equally where relevant domestic law is weak, absent or not enforced.

All actors associated with Yeniköy-Kemerköy Thermal Power Plant and Kemerköy Port Area should seek ways to abide by internationally recognized human rights.

Integrating Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence and Stakeholder Engagement in Project Partnerships

  • Project partners need to conduct a human rights and environmental due diligence to identify the potential and actual adverse human rights impacts of the project; specifically focusing on environmental impacts, to then act and communicate upon them.
  • Since the stakeholder engagement is crucial in HREDD, the project partners need to engage in an effective open dialogue with local communities and other stakeholders (e.g. NGOs and human rights defenders).

Violation of Key Principles UN Global Compact Commitment

  • Limak Enerji is a United Nations Global Compact signatory, thereby committing to comply with its Ten Principles.
  • However, with the implementation of Yeniköy-Kemerköy Thermal Power Plant and Kemerköy Port Area Projects’, the following principles are violated:
    • Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights

    • Principle 2: Businesses should make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses

    • Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges

    • Principle 8: Businesses should undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility

    • Principle 9: Businesses should encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies

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