Fifty-eight environmental activists, many of them Greenpeace members, went on trial Thursday for demonstrating in July against Turkey’s plans to build a nuclear power plant.
The prosecution seeks jail terms of between six months and three years for the defendants under an article that punishes those who participate in unauthorised demonstrations and resist the police, a Greenpeace statement said.
Scores of fellow activists demonstrated outside the courthouse, condemning the Turkish government and unfurling a placard that read “We are also anti-nuclear, try us too!”.
The activists were charged over a protest oustside the Turkish parliament on July 6 to denounce an accord that Turkey signed with Russia to build the country’s first nuclear power plant.
“Similar anti-nuclear protests in the past were not taken to court… The government holds the primary responsibility for this attack on civic rights,” the Greenpeace statement said.
The judge adjourned the hearing to January 12.
Under the deal with Russia, the plant will be built at Akkuyu, on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
Turkey is also in talks with South Korea for a second reactor at the northern Black Sea coast.
The government plans to build a total of three nuclear power plants in hopes of preventing a possible energy shortage and reducing dependence on foreign supplies.