ISTANBUL – 17.07.2014 11:52:19
Economic growth will eventually challenge human development and harm nature. The economic growth rate for 2013 shows a 4 percent increase. When examined closely, the expansion was almost solely due to domestic consumption and government spending; in other words, it was hormone-driven growth. Two weeks ago we got some perspective on the state of Turkish agriculture and found it to be the main victim of this visionless growth.
Today let’s have a look at the environment which, as these four examples will illustrate, is the other loser in Turkey’s economic boom.
Gallipoli National Park status cancellation
In June a parliamentary commission began debating some of the more fundamental changes to the Gallipoli (Gelibolu) National Park law. Turkey will probably bid farewell to one more special area which is the world’s heritage and has been under protection for a century because of changes foreseen in the new law on the “Çanakkale Wars and Gallipoli Historic Area.”
Conquering Fatih’s (conqueror) Forest
At the end of June there was a protest against yet another “destruction” project which seeks to construct villas and bungalows in the last forest of Istanbul. The protest, called the “Defense of the Northern Forests” [Kuzey Ormanları Savunması], declares on its website that the real estate development project named “Nature Park” aims to take both the Fatih Orman and Park Orman into its fold. The call to protest said, “The Fatih Forest project on which Ağaoğlu (a real estate developer) has set his sights now includes new looting projects in which business figures Serdar Bilgili and Ferit Şahenk are also involved.”
The AKP’s forest fairy tale
From the forestry faculty at Bartın University, Professors Erdoğan Atmış and Batuhan Günşen offer up a valuable analysis titled “A critical analysis examining the AKP in light of the forestry policies and practices of Turkish governments.” In this work the AKP’s particular sort of green “fairy tales” are revealed. These two academics explain, quite succinctly, how the AKP’s general stance on forests is not a question of “how to attain maximum benefit from resources in general, but rather how to profit from resources.” In other words, the AKP does not try to maximize forestlands, but rather, sells them. And in selling them, it creates a number of different stories and reasons to justify it.
Here is one telling example of the forestry fairy tales that have emerged in recent years: “Despite the fact that the tree-planting which took place in 2007 covered 31,500 hectares, it was disclosed by officials as having been 450,000 hectares. And while it was announced that as a part of a five year program, 2.3 million hectares of land would have trees planted on it, the real truth of the matter is that 73 percent of this rehabilitation program and used techniques that did not follow modern forestry science.”
This academic study also takes a close and careful look at the “2B Law” that makes it easier to see the sales of wrongfully occupied forestlands. To read the study in full:
Coal versus olive
An SOS from Ayvalık, Turkey’s olive oil powerhouse. Apparently Turkey’s coal mines in Muğla province’s Yatağan district have reached the point of depletion. While experts in Yatağan are still asserting that there is plenty of coal left in the area, the government has apparently set its sights on the coal that lies under the olive groves of Ayvalık to feed the thermoelectric power plant in Yatağan. As we all know, accessing underground minerals takes precedence over everything in this country! In short, there is apparently nothing this government won’t do when it comes to retrieving coal from the ground, despite the fact that not only is this particular Turkish lignite coal one of the least productive of all, it is also the main cause of global warming.
CENGİZ AKTAR (Cihan/Today’s Zaman)
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