Incredible Okçular!

Once More Unto The Breach, Dear Friends . .

Henry V

Henry V, Act III Scene 1
(with apologies to the Bard from Stratford-upon-Avon)

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English  village dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man or woman
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of environmental war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood!

Blogging has taken a bit of a back seat recently. What with the sudden, unannounced arrival  of a huge drilling rig in our midst just over two weeks ago and the MotoGP from Assen yesterday (Saturday) I’ve been a bit preoccupied with other things and other thoughts.

Okcular drilling rig

It all began three years ago when, without any consultation or proper notice, a company that is said to have connections within the former ruling political party was granted a license to drill for geothermal hot water in Okçular – anywhere in Okçular including private land! There were rumours going around, but nothing concrete.

Then, just over two weeks ago, J and I woke up to a strange grinding sound somewhere near the village cemetery. We wandered up to investigate and found what you see in the photo above. We must have been out when they arrived because we saw nothing go past our house.

Besides the crew there was a guy who, by his attitude and manner, appeared to be a ‘patron’. J began to question him and he certainly acted as if being questioned by a mere woman was beneath him. He learned otherwise! What he told us was that they were drilling for hot water to be used for a spa/fitness hotel somewhere between Okçular and Ortaca and that they would also be selling the water to other hotels who wanted it in Dalyan and Ortaca.

Armed with this information we went to our muhtar (village headman). He informed us that he knew about the project but not when it was starting. He claimed to have called a meeting of the villagers but we have yet to meet anyone who knew of it. We asked if he realised how dangerous this sort of thing would be to the environment and the livelihoods of our farming neighbours. He didn’t, but claimed they had a license so what could be done about it.

We suggested he call a village meeting. ‘OK’, he said ‘Next week.’ ‘No, tomorrow!’ said we – and so it began. News of what is planned is now spreading via the media.


With the help of friends in other places we have learned a lot in just a few days. There has been no environmental impact report/ÇED rapor, for example. With this information and knowledge of what is planned the village has begun the fight back. Trust me, there are a lot of very angry people here! We have been fortunate to have the dedicated support of the fantastic team of environmentalists who successfully defended Yuvarlakçay and İztuzu Beach. With their guidance we will be effective instead of floundering about in the dark.


Geothermal is not all that it is cracked up to be. For example, in Aydin Province there are a number of ‘closed’ geothermal installations where the hot water is extracted, the heat used and then the water is returned to where it came from. These projects are held up around the world as models of excellence! Yet still the farmers in these areas are having their trees and land poisoned and their livelihoods destroyed.


Here, in Okçular, the system will be ‘open’. The water, which is full of such substances as arsenic, boron, selenium, iron, cadmium, fluoride, hydrogen, sulfur, mercury, ammonia, radon, carbon dioxide and methane, in some instances the water is radio-active, will be pumped through pipes laid alongside the village water supply. We know from experience how often pipes under/alongside the road get damaged by heavy vehicles. When the water eventually arrives at spa hotels in Dalyan (and we already know which some of them are), or wherever, it will be pumped through the pools and then discharged – where? Into the canals or directly into the ground!

When this stuff is being extracted the borehole has to be constructed using welded steel pipes that are then lined with concrete to minimise the risks from cross-contamination with drinking and surface water. There is a very, very good reason for that when you look at the contaminants listed above! What are the controls that should be in place when this toxic water is being piped around and eventually discharged?

Part of the actions being taken by the village and our supporters is to start a court case and seek an injunction. This will force those behind the project and the government to open up the licenses and permissions to public examination. Apart from anything else, the drilling is being carried out illegally because it is well inside the boundary of exclusion for the village cemetery. There is an online petition where those of you who want to support us can do so, just click the link. It is complimentary to the paper petition that is being mounted locally and will only be up for a short time as it will go to the judge of the special court in about a week. We have more than one iron in the fire and I am truly optimistic that the village will prevail in the end. That said, there is no place for complacency and the battle continues on several fronts.

To quote a hero of mine, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos;


‘¡Ya Basta!’ Enough!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

ps Valentino Rossi won the Assen TT in a glorious, unforgiving battle – there’s a moral in there somewhere!


The Doctor Is Back In House

After two bleak years with Ducati the greatest motorcycle racer in the history of the sport is back. Back with Yamaha, back in the groove and back on the hunt for an eighth World Championship.


Valentino Rossi – the Greatest Motorcycle Racer of All Time

Alan Fenn, Seventh Heaven


Living With Carl Frogarty

Declaration of Interest: I am a motor cycle racing fanatic – all other sporting activities are measured against the cold-blooded courage of my heroes. Men (for this is almost exclusively a ‘bloke’ thing) like Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Carl Frogarty.

‘Froggy’ in particular because he is a Brit; he was undisputed King of the Superbikes during the ‘90s; he had a wild, unyieldingly aggressive riding style and the most piercing, almost reptilian, eyes imaginable.

Because of ‘Froggy’, my swimming pool tends to get disparaging remarks like, ‘Do you need a bit of help to keep it clean and fresh?’ Or, ‘Why have you got green mould growing in your pool?’ Or, ‘Oh, my God! (I’d use a small ‘g’ but some of you might think I’m a pagan) What’s that big, green thing swimming in your pool?’

That big, green thing is ‘Froggy’! He retired from racing in 2000 and sort of moved in with J and me about 3 years ago. He built a house in the rocks of the garden wall and took over the territory which includes the pool. At first he was a bit circumspect when J and I were around but that soon passed and now he actually seems to enjoy our company and friendship.

‘Froggy’ is less in evidence during the winter months but as soon as the pool is cleaned and filled he’s guaranteed to be the first in there; ‘first in – last out’, that’s our ‘Froggy’. As a result of having him as a lodger our pool gets cleaned less often out of respect for his sensitive skin. He actually has the amazing ability to absorb oxygen through his skin as well as breathing ‘normally’, so he’s very susceptible to nasty chemicals. We used to worry what visitors might think of our ‘green’ pool tiles until we realised that we cared more for ‘Froggy’s’ opinion and friendship than we did for theirs!

Anyway, enough of all that; let me introduce you to my dear friend, ‘Carl Frogarty’. . .

Carl Frogarty World Superbike Champion
Marsh Frog (Rana ridibunda)







Photos: Loris Capirossi; Carl Frogarty x 2; Marsh Frog

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü