August Eco-Tidbits from Turkey

brown fish owls dam protests turkey photo

The rare brown fish-owls recently spotted in Turkey are threatened by continued dam construction, against which protests have been increasing. The sign at right reads "We are taking ownership of our rivers, our culture, our future." Photos via the Hürriyet Daily News (left) and Bianet (right).

The annual heat and humidity of August -- and, this year, the start of the fasting month of Ramadan -- has most people in Turkey laying low, if not heading off to the beach. The slow news month, however, still held some environmental developments that prompted reactions of "süper" (yep, just like in English, but with an umlaut) and "maalesef" (unfortunately):Süper!

  • Turkey is working to create a national labeling system for green products and services similar to the EU's Ecolabel, which Turkish firms can currently only get certified with by applying through the environment ministries of European countries.

  • The brown fish-owl, one of Europe's rarest birds of prey, has been spotted in southern Turkey's Taurus Mountains. Its breeding grounds, however, are threatened by dams and hydroelectric power plants, which are rapidly being built in Turkey.

  • Female farmers in the Aegean region of İzmir have applied to start organic farming operations after taking municipality-organized courses that aim to help women develop economic independence. Another village in the same province, Karacaağaç, is working to become a center for organic farming of various goods after producing licensed organic olive oil for almost five years.

  • A major hub for ship recycling, Turkey has signed a United Nations-backed treaty on the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships that addresses the handling of hazardous substances as well as work conditions at scrap yards.

  • Having lost their battle to keep the ancient city of Allianoi from being submerged under reservoir water from a new dam, environmentalists are now protesting plans to cover the site in sand -- instead of silt and clay as originally planned - which they say will not sufficiently protect the relics.

  • Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called for the building of more dams and hydroelectric plants despite the damage they have been shown to be doing to Turkey's environment. Just days after his statement, a court revoked approval for a hydroelectric plant in the Black Sea region, saying the environmental impact of the facility had not been sufficiently assessed.

  • State-protected bears in the eastern province of Erzincan are facing potential threats from angry farmers, who say the bears have been damaging their melon crops.

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

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