The Toxic Valley

The story of the most heavily industrialised area of Turkey

For the past six months, The Black Sea has investigated the public health crisis in Kocaeli, the most heavily industrialised region in Turkey.

One small town, Dilovası, home to around 45,000 residents, bears the most serious consequences of three decades of unbridled industrial development, with widespread health problems among the locals, filthy air, soil, and waters, caused by uncontrolled pollution.

We found that the Kocaeli region was home to more than 2000 companies, with around 15 percent of these having some foreign ownership, and most from the EU.

The Turkish state knows the extent of the locals' misery. Yet it not only ignores the scientific evidence, it actively encourages new polluting businesses to the area.

About the project

Project coordinator: Zeynep Şentek
Reporters: Zeynep Şentek, Craig Shaw, Mina Eroğlu, Doğu Eroğlu, Ali Tahir Kaya, Elif Alçınkaya, Maria Kamarianaki
Photographer: Petruț Călinescu
Editing: Himanshu Ojha
Tech assistance: Alex Morega

This project was supported by