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Organizations unite against plan to open Turkey’s protected areas to development

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 […] This bill should be withdrawn as soon as possible and measures to protect the rich nature of Anatolia should be put into practice.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.

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