Turkey's report card on World Environment Day
05.06.2017 11:55 BİRGÜN DAİLY


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For June 5th World Environment Day, we have prepared the report card of Turkey. The result is perilous. Throughout its 15 years long rule, Turkey’s AKP (Justice and Development Party) has taken decisions regarding nature and cities in such a way where it turned a blind to its partner firms’ plundering of nature. It did this through new laws and regulations.
When these laws passed throughout the 15 years are examined more closely, a serious case of pillage and plundering is revealed:

Natural assets permitted to be used for the sake of profit

With the creation of Wealth Fund and the order of a decree that allowed ‘changes on certain laws and decrees’, the natural assets of the country have virtually been turned into a ‘merchandise’ without any limitations.

Firms are now allowed to invest wherever they want and however they want; and, they will receive state funded loans. Moreover, while they’ll also be granted tax exemption, certain employment taxes required will be compensated by state for the first 5 years after a firms operation begins.

Areas that used to be categorized as protected natural, archeological, and ecological areas, as well as, forests, highlands, forages, and wetlands, will now be permitted to be used for construction of power plants, mines, and other kinds of industrial or commercial facilities. All of this has been made possible through the disputed Article 80, which was passed earlier last year. This package law also closed the way for litigation and objections.

Much more olive trees could be chopped down

The recent draft bill, called Production Reform, was passed at the parliamentary committee. If it is legislated in the parliament, olive gardens in Turkey will be turned into areas used for mining and industrial activities.

Agriculture is destroyed; even wheat is imported

new laws, fertile lands were allowed to be defined as zones for construction. Agricultural production declined significantly. While Turkey used to be a country that had sufficient nutritional stock for itself, it imports even wheat today.

Scope of EIA narrowed

According to the data of The Ministry of Environment and Urbanization released in 2013, there had been over 40K cases – throughout past 2 decades - across the country where the government officials had issued a ‘document of EIA not required’. And, with the latest law, the scope of EIA has also been narrowed.

Pillage all across the country

Throughout the rule of AKP, nearly 14K km square land in eastern Blacksea Region – in provinces of Artvin, Giresun, Gümüşhane, Ordu, Rize, and Trabzon - has been designated as zones for mining. In line with this step, 303 firms were granted a total of 1012 licenses for a variety of industrial activities in the region.

Currently, a resistance continues against plans for the Green Way in Rize’s Çamlıhemşin; hydroelectric power plants and the gold mines in Artvin; and, the second nuclear plant of Turkey in Sinop.

The insistence of the government and some firms for construction of Europe’s biggest thermal power plant in Amasra – a significant touristic site with both natural and historical features - persist.

In the largest province of Thrace, Edirne, the Ergene River has been polluted due to industrial wastes and mining activities in the region. Cancer patients in Dilovası and Gebze towns of Kocaeli province – province with one of the most significant industrial zones – have increased in numbers.

In Bursa, the government permitted construction of a thermal plant despite strong objection of the public.
A gold mine in İzmir’s Bergama district was opened also in spite of opposition. The thermal plant in İzmir’s Aliağa is still disputed on legal basis. Thousands of olive trees in İzmir’s Karaburun were cut down for the construction of wind power plants.

In Çanakkale, where there are currently 3 active thermal plants, there will be more than 15 such plants in the province if the proposals for new projects of thermal plants are not rejected.

In Manisa’s Soma province, 6000 olive trees were cut down by pro-government Kolin firm for the sake of a thermal plant.
The Bafa Lake, which is located between Aydın’s Didim and Muğla’s Milas districts – both are top touristic sites of the Eegean coast -, is full of industrial waste. In Efe district, due to geothermic plants, agricultural lands of the region are under a risk.

There is active gold mining done with cyanide in Eşme and Ulubey districts of Uşak.

There is a plan of construction of 20 thermal plants at the Gulf of Alexandretta (İskenderun).

The Akkuyu Nuclear Plant in Mersin province, which is a plant of Russia, is under construction despite all objections.

World’s largest sodic lake, Lake Van, has been polluted significantly.

The Ilısu Dam, which is in Dargeçit area of Mardin, is flooding the ancient town of Hasankeyf.

According to latest data on air pollution, except for four provinces – Tunceli, Artvin, Çanakkale, Adana -, all cities in Turkey have air pollution that is over the maximum level set by World Health Organization...

Front-page article of BirGün published on 5 June 2017, Monday with the title of 'AKP's report card on pillage and plunder'

Source: http://www.birgun.net/haber-detay/bugun-5-haziran-cevre-gunu-akp-nin-yagma-ve-talan-karnesi-162792.html