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Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline

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The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline is an oil pipeline, which opened in June 2005, and runs through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey [1].

Oil giant BP is the lead member of the BTC consortium [2].

BP's image has been tarnished by its involvement with the controversial Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, criticised for human rights abuses, environmental and safety concerns. Several ecological issues have been raised concerning the BTC pipeline.

The Borjomi national park, an area of mineral water springs and outstanding natural beauty in Georgia, is bisected by the pipeline. This has long been the subject of fierce opposition by environmental activists. Since the pipeline is buried for its entire length, constructing it has left a highly visible scar across the landscape. [3]

Human-rights cases related to the pipeline have been taken against the Turkish government to the European court of justice and European court of human rights. Other cases reported by NGOs include peasants being misinformed by the authorities about their legal rights - for example that if they went to court they would receive no compensation or that they could not challenge the compensation paid. Many other cases are reported of farmers receiving far less compensation than promised, and being threatened with violence if they refused to accept what was offered. [4]

According to the NGO coalition Baku-Ceyhan Campaign, there are serious allegations of malfeasance by the authorities in the acquisition of land along the route, in particular the expropriation of land before compensation has been agreed - a violation of the rules of the International Finance Corporation.[5]

In August 2002, BP and a consortium of oil companies stood accused of ignoring the rights of Turkish villagers and environmental fears. In a special deal with the Turkish government, the consortium was granted exemption from environmental, social and human rights laws. The deal creates what is known as a host government agreement (HGA), and creates a corridor through some of Turkey's regions, which would be outside Ankara's jurisdiction for the lifetime of the pipeline. [6]

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