January Eco-Tidbits from Turkey

ilisu dam protest new organic market photo

Environmentalists in Istanbul urged Turkish banks to withdraw support for the Ilısu Dam project and cheered the opening of a new organic market. Photos by (left) the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review and (right) Jennifer Hattam.

Istanbul welcomed the new year with the opening of its third organic market and the 135th birthday of its historic Tünel funicular, the world's second-oldest subway after the London Underground. Environmental news from the rest of the country was mixed between developments that prompted reactions of "süper" (yep, just like in English, but with an umlaut) and "maalesef" (unfortunately):Süper!

  • A new system of "building identification cards" is being introduced to measure energy use, which experts estimate can be decreased by up to 40 percent through careful monitoring. The program is also expected to create 10,000 jobs.

  • The country's largest wind turbines, 54 2.5-megawatt-capacity turbines at the Gökçedağ wind farm, are expected to be fully operational within the next two months.

  • A farmer in Kahramanmaraş received 110,179 Turkish Liras ($73,585) in compensation for damage done to his land by pollution from the Afşin-Elbistan A Power Plant.

  • Turkey and the United Kingdom set up a working group to help the country meet European Union standards on environmental issues, which are currently being discussed as part of accession negotiations.

  • An Aegean municipality has proposed a project to a local university that would convert poor-quality agricultural lands, once used for growing cotton, into fields of solar panels.

  • Denim sandblasters who have contracted silicosis, or "grinder's disease," in the course of their work will be able to receive health care free of charge. Of course, having their working conditions improved in the first place would be much better news.

  • The zoning plan of the Ayvalık Natural Park, an area of forests and sand dunes that is home to numerous endemic plant and wildlife species, has been changed to allow construction in designated protection areas. Environmentalists say local governments and NGOs were not consulted about the revisions.

  • The Ministry of Culture and Tourism rejected a petition to shut down a chromite mine in a Marmaris village, saying the operations are not within the protected tourism zones.

  • There are not enough birdwatchers to keep sufficient records of birds on Tuzla Lake, an important avian habitat near Bodrum where the population of greater flamingos seems to have experienced a significant winter decline -- less than 200 birds as opposed to up to 3,000 in past years.

  • Turkish banks Garanti, Akbank, and Halkbank are said to be considering loan support for the controversial Ilısu Dam project, drawing protests from environmentalists.

Previous wrap-ups of Turkish environmental news:
December Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
November Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
October Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
September Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
August Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
July Eco-Tidbits from Turkey

January Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
Istanbul welcomed

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