TEMA Foundation Evaluated Türkiye's Environmental Events in 2022

TEMA Foundation Evaluated Türkiye’s Environmental Events in 2022

TEMA Foundation Evaluated Environmental Events of 2022

Climate change, loss of biodiversity, deforestation, the gradual reduction of agricultural lands, and the inability to reach adequate and healthy food and water were among the main environmental problems of our world in 2022.

Throughout the year, there were good developments as well as negative ones on the environmental agenda. TEMA Foundation, which continues its work for nature without interruption, evaluated the prominent good and bad environmental events of 2022.

Umut Yeşerten Environmental News of 2022

Good News from Kaz Mountains

In the lawsuit we filed regarding the cancellation of the “EIA positive” decision of the Halilağa Copper Mine project, the Çanakkale 1st Administrative Court decided to cancel the transaction. In the EIA report; It was stated that only tangible cultural assets were mentioned, intangible cultural assets were ignored, the measures to be taken for tangible cultural assets were left to miners, and it was not possible to bring soil from outside the site for rehabilitation in accordance with the Implementation Regulation of Article 16 of the Forest Law. It was concluded that the EIA report was not in compliance with the law and legislation on the grounds that it was not sufficient and acceptable in these matters, and the EIA positive decision was annulled. 79% IV. The group once again came to life in Kaz Mountains, one of the ancient geographies of our country with its rich biological diversity, forests, agriculture and cultural areas, which are licensed to mines.

Good News from Kahramanmaraş!

“EIA positive” decisions were annulled in the lawsuits filed for Afşin C Thermal Power Plant and Akbayır Thermal Power Plant, which are planned to be established in Kahramanmaraş. “The Decision of the Soil Conservation Board and the Ministry’s Approval”, which allows the misuse of agricultural lands on which Afşin C Thermal Power Plant will be built, was also annulled by the court.

Cancellation Decision on the Regulation on the Storage of Thermal Power Plant Wastes

The wastes generated as a result of the activities of thermal power plants are toxic, pollute ground and surface waters and agricultural lands, and adversely affect the environment and human health. TEMA Foundation filed a lawsuit for annulment of the Provisional Article 3 of the Regulation on the Regular Storage of Wastes, which was published in the Official Gazette dated 26/12/2019 and numbered 30990.

In the aforementioned temporary article in the justification of the action for annulment, the content of the academic report sought for the “environmental permit” and the “environmental permit and license certificate”, which must be obtained within the scope of the legislation in order to continue the storage of wastes, the competence of the preparer, and the necessary and It was stated that there was not enough clarity.

On the other hand, it was claimed that the article did not contain the elements of the temporary article, that a certain period or condition was not foreseen for its use, that although it was a temporary article, it was almost a general regulation in terms of the way it was arranged and the legal norm it brought, and this was not in accordance with the legislation making technique.

The court decided to cancel the Provisional Article 3 of the Regulation on the Regular Storage of Wastes, finding these justifications to be justified.

Long Live Our Olive Trees

On March 1, 2022, all olive groves of Anatolia were opened to mining with a regulation change that did not comply with the laws and international agreements. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the regulation change that caused reactions. With the decision of the Council of State to stay the execution after the lawsuits filed, the said regulation change was not implemented.

However, later on, on 10 December, the “Draft Law on Amending the Electricity Market Law and Some Laws and the Decree Law No. 375”, which paved the way for mining in olive groves, was presented to the Parliament. During the commission meetings, the article on “opening our olive groves to mining with the law proposal” was withdrawn.

Thus, our olive trees were protected from the threat of mining. With their immunity for thousands of years, our olive trees continue to be the symbol of peace and hope.

The Poison Ship is Back!

Citizens took action after it was heard that the NAe Sao Paulo ship, which contained approximately 600 tons of asbestos, had set off from Brazil to be dismantled in Turkey. Although the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change received information that there was 9 tons of asbestos on board and there was no risk, people from Aliağa and all over Turkey started a petition and filed lawsuits. After the reactions, it was announced that the ship was abandoned to be brought to Turkey.

Loss-Damage Fund Decision from COP27

At the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in November 2022, the Loss-Damage Fund, which has been demanded for many years, was established with the agreement of the parties. All details and uncertainties regarding the Loss-Damage Fund were left on the agenda of COP 28. The Fund will function as a kind of financial support mechanism that developed countries will provide to developing and least developed countries. While Pakistan and the island countries played an important role in the creation of the fund, the decision was welcomed with great joy.

Good News from Environmental Plans

-Agricultural Lands and Herzegovina Lagoon Won in Yalova

In our case of the 1/50.000 scaled environmental plan of Yalova Province, which was approved in 2018 and where plan decisions were developed that would pose a threat to the natural assets in the province, tourism-oriented constructions in the region were canceled as they would damage the Hersek Lagoon, which is of great importance for waterfowl. The new organized industrial zones and urban development areas, which were developed in contradiction with the principle of agricultural sustainability and would create development pressure on agricultural lands, natural and historical areas in the region, were found to be contrary to the public interest. Agricultural lands and Hersek Lagoon won in Yalova.

  • Flood Areas to be Protected in Van, Muş and Bitlis Provinces

The provision of the plan added to the environmental plan, which will lead to the construction of flood areas in the Van-Bitlis-Muş Planning Region, was canceled by the Council of State. Thus, intervention to nature was kept to a minimum and natural disasters were prevented based on natural thresholds and carrying capacities.

-Council of State Didn’t Allow Yacht Harbor in Bozburun and Industry in Denizli Bozkurt

The Council of State canceled the marina, which was planned to be built in Bozburun through the plan change made within the scope of the Aydın-Muğla Denizli environmental plan in 2009, as it was against the principles of urban planning and planning, as it included the risk of damaging the natural and physical structure and the archaeological site in the region. In addition, the planned industrial development on agricultural lands in Bozkurt district of Denizli province was canceled as it was found to be contrary to the public interest.

-Nature Won in the Eastern Black Sea Region

Within the scope of the 1/100,000 scale environmental plan for the Ordu-Trabzon-Rize-Giresun-Gümüşhane-Artvin Planning Region approved in 2011; Suggesting an industrial area and an urban residential area to the coastal part of Yomra district of Trabzon, which will lead to the destruction of agricultural lands, which are a special product area for the Eastern Black Sea region, the deterioration of the natural landscape texture of the region, and the opening of agricultural areas with very unique ecological values for construction. The planning decision was cancelled.

In the same plan, the proposal of a mining industry in the area without considering the ecological values of the İkizdere Valley was found to be contrary to the public interest, planning and urbanism principles.

In the decision of the Council of State, it was emphasized that the environmental effects of hydroelectric power plants should be investigated and evaluated in detail by taking into account the integrity of the basin, and necessary protection measures should be taken in this direction in order not to adversely affect the ecosystem balance of the region in the calculations of water flow to be used in HEPPs. It was stated that the plan did not include basic principles and policies that would guide the sub-scale plans for these issues, and it was decided to cancel it.

TEMA Foundation Evaluated Türkiye's Environmental Events in 2022

Negative Environmental News of 2022

Climate Crisis Intensifies

The effects of the climate crisis were exacerbated in 2022. Ten climate disasters that took place in 2022 caused millions of people to be displaced, thousands of lives lost and more than $200 billion in economic damage.

Extreme heat waves followed Storm Eunice, which hit Europe, while heavy rains that flooded two-thirds of Pakistan killed 1,739 people and displaced a large portion of the population. The floods also hit South Africa and Australia. In the last weeks of 2022, the snowstorm in the USA took more than 60 lives.

In Turkey, on the other hand, there is a dry and relatively warm winter season. As November 2022 was the 5th hottest month of the last 52 years, the average temperature of the 1991-2020 autumn season was 1.2°C above the seasonal normals. In the period of October 2021-September 2022, precipitation decreased by 3.9% compared to the 1991-2020 average. According to the September-November 2022 quarterly drought assessment, there is an extraordinary drought in the inner parts of the Marmara and Aegean regions.

The Expected Emission Reduction Target from Turkey Didn’t Come

Turkey updated its Statement of National Contribution published in 2015 at the 27th Meeting of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Egypt this year. Turkey has committed to reduce its emissions by 41%, which is expected to be 1175 million tons of CO2e in 2030, in line with the baseline scenario given in 2015. However, when the scenario is examined, Turkey’s reduction target corresponds to an increase of more than 30%.

As the TEMA Foundation, we argue that calculations should be made based on the current situation with an absolute reduction target of at least 35%, that the current emissions should be lowered, otherwise there will be no contribution to stopping the increase in planetary temperature, and that Turkey should give up the use of fossil fuels as soon as possible.

No Exit from Coal

“Exit Coal” decision was not included in the final declaration of the Climate Council held in Konya in February by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change. It was noteworthy that there was no reduction target in fossil fuel consumption in the draft Climate Law submitted for opinions and suggestions in 2022.

Minerals Are Not Valuable From Our Living Spaces

Mining activities, which cause irreversible damage on protected areas, forest areas, fertile agricultural lands and living areas, are causing more serious threats to our living spaces with each passing day.

As the TEMA Foundation, the IV. With the studies on group mining licenses, we have determined that an average of 67% of 28 provinces in our country are licensed for mining.

The distribution of mining licenses by province is as follows; Afyonkarahisar 52%, Artvin 71%, Bayburt 65%, Erzincan-Tunceli 52%, Erzurum 63%, Eskişehir 71%, Giresun 85%, Gümüşhane 93%, Kahramanmaraş 58%, Karaman 38%, Kaz Mountains 79%, Kütahya 92% , Muğla 59%, Ordu 74%, Siirt-Şırnak-Batman 34%, Sivas; 65%, Rize 82%, Tekirdağ-Kırklareli 65%, Tokat 46%, Trabzon 77%, Uşak 80% and Zonguldak-Bartın 72%.

As TEMA Foundation, we demand that vital areas be closed to mining activities by law in order to protect our natural assets, food security and cultural values.

Another Mining Accident!

On 21 June, the cyanide solution pipes of the Kapakler Gold Mine, located 350 meters from the Euphrates river basin and only 250 meters from the living areas, in the İliç district of Erzincan, exploded.

Only in the last 2 years, there have been 7 mine tailings dam collapses and leakage accidents known to the public in Turkey. Unfortunately, gold mining projects are increasing in our lands. Mining facilities that can be built anywhere by law, regardless of protected areas and drinking-utility water dams; EIA projects that are incomplete, incompatible with scientific reality, and deficiencies in inspection are increasing day by day. The threat continues in the whole geography, especially in Erzincan, Artvin, Fatsa, Kaz Mountains, Gediz Basin and Tokat.

42 Miners Died

On October 14, in the Amasra district of Bartın, a fire pit explosion took place in the mine affiliated to the Turkish Hard Coal Institution (TTK) Amasra Institution Directorate. Of the 110 miners underground, 42 died in the explosion.

The Amasra Mining Accident Investigation Commission was established in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The preliminary report of the expert on the mining accident, which drew attention to the negligence, was sent to the Amasra Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. In the report, it was stated that the failure to implement investments and projects for the improvement of mine ventilation played an important role in the occurrence of the accident.

Keeps Vigil in Akbelen

The watch of the people of İkizköy, who resisted the activities of the mining area that was requested to be built in the Akbelen Forest of the Milas district of Muğla, approached the 550th day.

In the lawsuit filed for the cancellation of the permission that opened the forest to mining activities, expert discoveries were made three times. Finally, after the expert report that gave the forest area ‘mineral suitability’, the court board abolished the ‘stay of execution’ decision. İkizköy Environment Committee objected to the last expert report and the stay of execution decision. Despite all the negative developments, the people of İkizköy continue to keep watch in order not to give up the Akbelen Forest.

Channel Istanbul Continues Despite the Expert Report

Within the scope of the Kanal Istanbul Project, in 2020, with a change in the environmental plan, the constructions that threaten our natural assets in the north of Istanbul were increased. In the lawsuit we filed against this, the experts, in line with our objections, determined the Kanal Istanbul Project and the new settlement in its vicinity; found it contrary to the principles of planning, urbanism and public interest.

In the expert report; It was stated that the disappearance of the Sazlıdere Dam and the possibility of salinization of the Terkos Dam Lake with the project pose a risk for the city’s drinking water supply, while it was stated that the settlements were directed to the north at the expense of entering the forest, agriculture, pasture and drinking water basins that need to be protected. The Istanbul Administrative Court rejected our request for stay of execution despite the expert report, which emphasized that the historical macroform development of Istanbul was changed in violation of the upper scale spatial decisions and that the project was a “real estate development project”.

Mega Industrial Zones Will Bring Ecological Destruction Rather Than Economic Benefit

The location selection decisions of the “mega-industrial zones”, which are stated to be a new economic development move for Turkey, will bring ecological destruction rather than economic benefit. We have determined that the projects are planned in a way that will cause irreparable damage to important natural areas, without considering a fiction that will protect the unique ecosystem areas that Turkey has. Immediate investment decisions will cause irreversible losses for Turkey.

We remind once again that a development move that contradicts ecological values and poses a threat to biodiversity and natural assets is not sustainable.

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