July Eco-Tidbits from Turkey


Küre Mountains National Park (L) is on its way to becoming part of a protected European park network, while demonstrators in Ankara (R) were arrested for protesting nuclear power. Photos via Turkish Adventures (L) and Today's Zaman (R).

With summer in full swing in Turkey, the season's regular environmental woes have again come to the fore. Helicopters dropping water have become a common sight around the country's Mediterranean coast, where hot and dry weather has contributed to forest fires in Dalaman and Bodrum. And as vacationers take to the roads, traffic-accident deaths have mounted. But summer has also prompted some green innovations, such as the solar-powered, motion-activated fans at bus stops in the sweltering southern province of Mersin. Other environmental developments this month likewise prompted reactions of "süper" (yep, just like in English, but with an umlaut) and "maalesef" (unfortunately):Süper!

  • The northern Black Sea province of Sakarya has launched an initiative to make the city more bike-friendly, including establishing three main bike routes from the outskirts into the city center, creating parking spaces for bikes, offering cycling classes to students, and giving free bus rides to cyclists.

  • Turkey's biggest cities are beefing up their public-transportation offerings, with two new metro lines in the works for Istanbul and plans being made to connect the high-speed train to Ankara with the capital's metro line.

  • Küre Mountains National Park, an area full of valleys, caves, canyons, and waterfalls in Turkey's Black Sea region, is on track to be named a Protected Area Network (PAN) Park in 2013 as part of a project to protect Europe's wilderness areas.

  • Istanbul is building charging stations for electric cars in parking lots to help prepare the city's infrastructure for the vehicles, which are expected to be on the market in Turkey next year.

Maalesef...
  • Herds of sheep grazing near a former lead mine in the northwestern city of Balıkesir have died, reportedly from lead poisoning, and the shuttered facility is believed to also pose a risk to people who eat fish out of the river that runs through the area.

  • Production at a hydroelectric power plant in the eastern Black Sea province of Rize is drying up a significant portion of the İkizdere River, and locals fear continued operation will damage important natural habitat.

  • Seven endangered sea turtles died after becoming trapped in fishing nets in the Mediterranean province of Mersin. Local officials have promised tougher monitoring of the area, where the turtles nest over the summer months.

  • Fifty-eight Greenpeace members were detained during a demonstration in Ankara protesting Turkey's plans to build a nuclear power plant in its Black Sea region.

Previous wrap-ups of Turkish environmental news:
June Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
May Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
April Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
March Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
February 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
January 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey

Tags: Bike-Friendly World | Biking | Dams | Electric Cars | Greenpeace | Nuclear Power | Pollution | Public Transportation | Solar Gadgets | Turkey