Last week nearly 200 Turkish organizations banded together to protest a draft law by the government to open up Turkey’s protected areas to development. A combination of environmental, health, education, arts and culture, tourism, and human rights groups joined outside the Turkish Parliament with signs stating, ‘We Won’t Give You Anatolia’, another name for the region.
According to opponents the ‘Nature and Biodiversity Conservation’ bill would do the opposite of what its name suggests, opening even threatened habitats to large development projects, such as hydro-electric power.
Pervin Çoban Savran, leader of a Turkish nomadic tribe known as the Sarıkeçili, stated at the protest: “If laws will not protect nature, people will. They will claim their roots, and nature, at all costs. Our rulers should know this. […] This bill should be withdrawn as soon as possible and measures to protect the rich nature of Anatolia should be put into practice. This is what the Anatolian people want.”
Turkey has over 140 designated protected areas, including 33 National Parks.
(05/26/2009) A dirt road that had bisected Lake Kuyucuk in Turkey’s Kars Province has been turned into an island for birds to breed safely away from livestock, foxes, and humans. Converted from a road into island in only two months, the 200 meter-long artificial island is the first of its kind in Eastern Anatolia.
(05/12/2009) A few weeks into the bluefin tuna fishing season and Turkey has decided to go it alone. Breaking international agreements, the Turkish government has announced that it will ignore agreed-upon bluefin tuna quotas. The news is not good for the survival of the critically-endangered fish species, since Turkey operates the largest Mediterranean fleet for bluefin tuna.
(09/24/2008) Turkey has lost twelve species of fish to pollution in Lake Sapanca. Lake Sapanca used to be one of Turkey’s most bio-diverse lakes. A decade ago the lake’s water was pristine enough to be pumped directly to Istanbul for citizen use, but due to rising pollution it no longer serves as a source for the city water.