April Eco-Tidbits from Turkey


The historical ruins of Allianoi (left) got a reprieve from dam construction, while Lake Abant (right) remains threatened. Photos via DSİ (L) and Abant.info (R).

As environmentalists celebrated Earth Day around the country, the holiday for treehuggers didn't see much to cheer in Turkey. April 22 brought news of the brutal killing of a Mediterranean seal in protected breeding waters near Bodrum -- possibly for swiping fish from a fish farm -- while a local newspaper reported that "Earth Day passed almost unnoticed by most of Turkey," with few green groups organizing events to mark the day. The rest of the month, however, brought environmental news both good and bad, developments that prompted reactions of "süper" (yep, just like in English, but with an umlaut) and "maalesef" (unfortunately):Süper!

  • Activists won an appeal to keep historical artifacts in place at the Roman-era settlement of Allianoi, a decision that bolsters their fight to keep the ancient town from being flooded by the reservoir of a proposed dam.

  • The Mediterranean town of Muratpaşa joined the Istanbul district of Kadıköy in banning the use of plastic bags in favor of those made from fabric, paper, or similar recyclable, reusable, or organic materials.

  • A major Turkish bank announced it would join the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, which works to minimize the environmental impact of the financial sector.

  • The fifth edition of the Mountain Film Festival brought movies about the environment, adventure sports, and the great outdoors to Istanbul's urban dwellers.

  • Turkey and neighboring Iran, Iraq, and Syria agreed to work together to protect the environment, including fighting forest fires and preventing desertification.

Maalesef...
  • Plagued by garbage dumping and arson and targeted by developers, the only wetland on the Bodrum Peninsula is at risk of perishing, the General Directorate of Natural Parks warned. Akdeniz Lake, home to rare date palms, is "about to lose its identity as a wetland," the agency said in a memo.

  • Slow progress in government licensing is blocking the development of Turkey's wind energy sector; applications for 756 wind-power plants that would generate 78,000 megawatts of energy have been pending since November 2007.

  • Construction of a hotel and other tourism facilities reportedly threatens Abant Natural Park, a popular nature and recreation area in the northern Turkish province of Bolu. Activists have organized a campaign, called "Abant is Being Destroyed," to protect the area.

Previous wrap-ups of Turkish environmental news:
March Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
February 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
January 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
December 2009 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
November 2009 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
October 2009 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey

Tags: Conservation | Dams | Earth Day | Plastic Bags | Turkey