Turkish Cypriot activist talks to CNA about struggle to halt Akkuyu power plant development

Turkish Cypriot biologist Hasan Sarpten, a member and activist of the platform No to nuclear, has pointed out the importance of solidarity between the two sides in Cyprus against the nuclear power plant under development in Akkuyu, Turkey.

In a written interview with CNA, Sarpten says that a future without nuclear power, but with renewable energy sources, should be the common vision of Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot organisations, adding that there were many such organisations in both communities, which have formed the platform No to nuclear.

Our aim is to increase awareness about the dangers from nuclear power and work jointly against constructing the nuclear power plant, which is just 90 km from Kyrenia. To this end we will intensify our actions over the coming period to reach the European Parliament, he says.

Sarpten notes that nuclear power causes cancer and destroys the genetic structure of the human species, and that is why platforms against nuclear power are joining forces, in Turkey and other Mediterranean countries.

He explains that No to nuclear was set up on the 22nd of December 2014, the first bicommunal event for the Fukushima accident was held on the 11th of March 2015 in the buffer zone in Nicosia, and a few days later, on the 27th of March 2015, the campaign was taken to the European Parliament. Co-chairperson of the Greens in the European Parliament Rebecca Harms came to Cyprus in April 2015 to meet with them. On the 25th of April 2016, the platform organised a concert to mark the anniversary of the Chernobyl explosion.

Regarding the Akkuyu power plant, the Turkish Cypriot activist notes that it contains the risk of an accident, the devastating effects of which will last for centuries, the nuclear waste will not be manageable, and the specialists point out the threat it poses by being on a seismological fault. All this, he says, must be taken into consideration.

Sarpten points out that radioactive energy cannot be controlled and affects the health and wellbeing of many people over great distances, noting that nuclear power pollutes the environment, water sources, and the flora and fauna, and spreads death, cancer, and problematic births.

He says that after the improvement of the climate between Russia and Turkey, works to construct the nuclear power plant in Akkuyu have been stepped up. Furthermore, due to the emergency situation in Turkey, reactions have ceased. People are afraid to demonstrate and, so far, the opposition is very weak regarding this issue. The judicial procedure is continuing. Due to the arbitrariness indicated by the environmental report, work mainly on the central building has been halted, but the AKP government, acting behind the law, has approved everything.

Sarpten says the nuclear power plants are dangerous for the area and points out that there are many other countries following Turkey, such as Lebanon, Israel, and Iran, which are becoming nuclear powers. Especially in the Eastern Mediterranean region, peace is more and more elusive, it becomes a vision, a dream. We have not forgotten the violence and negative effects of the war and the conflicts in Cyprus, and we do not want to live through this again on our island.

According to Sarpten, to date there have been 600 nuclear accidents, the nuclear power plants � even without accidents � affect the ecosystem in the seas, the human environment, and all living creatures around them. He points out that, so far, no solution has been found for nuclear waste from the power plants. Sarpten also cites research carried out in Germany, which indicates that children living near nuclear power plants run a higher risk of developing leukaemia.

The Turkish Cypriot biologist says that the earthquake in Japan in March 2011 caused one of the largest nuclear accidents, that of Fukushima, which even today continues to affect with the leaking of radioactivity into the sea and the air. After that accident, he says, many countries revised their policy regarding nuclear energy, but unfortunately the Akkuyu power plant, which is very close to Cyprus, continues to be built, indeed quite fast. However, we will continue our struggle and we will inform that nuclear power is not the only option, he concludes.

Source: Cyprus News Agency