Turkey- EU relations were initiated in the framework of the association regime based on the Ankara Agreement which was signed with the European Economic Community on 12 September 1963 and gained momentum with Turkey’s application for formal membership into the European Community on 14 April 1987.

Turkey’s entrance to Customs Union, which constitutes an important stage of Turkey’s integration with the EU, entered into force on 1 January 1996. European Council recognises Turkey as a candidate on equal footing with other potential candidates on 12 December 1999 at the Helsinki Summit.

Progress Reports are being prepared for Turkey since 1998.

ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION APPROXIMATION PROGRESS

Chapter 27 Environment was opened for Turkey on 21 December 2009 during the Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels. Six Closing Criteria (One political and five technical) has been established for the chapter. 15 % of the IPA funds in Turkey are allocated to the environment which constitutes one of the major areas . But as was repeated in the 2014 Progress Report, “Turkey has made some progress in aligning legislation in the fields of environment and climate change, whereas enforcement remains weak. While a stronger political commitment and re-establishment of regular policy dialogue on environment and climate change would help accelerating the alignment with and implementation of the acquis, the real challenge remains to conciliate growth and environmental concerns. More ambitious and better coordinated environment and climate policies still need to be established and implemented.” EU Accession process has lost its momentum in the last years in Turkey. New EU strategy of Turkey” announced in September 2014 aims to establish new communication channels between Turkey and the EU and accelerate the reform process. This strategy is established on the basis of resoluteness, sustainability and efficiency and consists of three legs: “Political Reform Process”, “Socio-economic Transformation during the Accession Process”, EU Communication Strategy.”

Top Recommandations

  1. 1.

    TEMA Foundation, in cooperation with other stakeholders, drafted a framework law on water. The draft has been published with the support of Env.net project. Turkey has to adopt a Framework Lawn on Water with public participation.

  2. 2.

    Turkey needs to sign the Aarhus Convention and adopt the public rights addressed in the three pillars of the Convention: Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice, across decisions concerning the local, national and transboundary environment.

  3. 3.

    Given the rate of development and number of associated investments in Turkey, Turkey needs to urgently adopt the SEA and start its implementation.

  4. 4.

    Turkey needs to declare a national mitigation target and cuts down its current plans on fosil fuel investments, replacing them with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

  5. 5.

    General Directorates in relation to environment should again gather under one Ministry.

  6. 6 .

Top Findings

  1. 1.

    In Turkey, there are over 40 legislative clauses under different law and regulations about water. There is the need to adopt to EU Water Framework Directive.

  2. 2.

    Turkey was actively involved in the negotiation of the The Aarhus Convention (full title: Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters) from 1996 to 1998 but did not sign it and has never acceded to it.

  3. 3.

    Turkey has yet not adopted the Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA).

  4. 4.

    Turkey’s overall domestic greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly increasing and the lack of an overall domestic GHG emissions reduction target is limiting Turkey’s capacity to comply with EU’s climate and energy policies.

  5. 5.

    Ministry of Environment was merged with Ministry of Urbanization in 2011 which caused the priorities of the Ministry to change. There is also confusion between authorities since Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs is a seperate institution.

  6. 6.

1. Water Quality & Management
1. River Basin Management
Legislation:

Work is in progress to approximate to EU Water Framework Directive. Water Affairs Directorate General has been set up in 2011 with the mission of carrying out this legislative process in Turkey by the ministry. Later in 2012, the Regulation regarding Protection of Water Basins and Preparation of Management Plans has been enacted as well.

Implementation:

There is no Framework Law on Water. Transboundary consultations on water issues with neighbouring countries are still at an early stage.

Legislation Gaps:

Implementation Gaps:

Implementation Gaps: There is the need to convert the currently available River Basin Action Plans to EU compatible River Basin Management Plans for 25 river basins in Turkey. (This number is too high compared to other candidate countries which means large amount of financial and human resources is needed for such an adoption). There are critical differences between two structures such River Basin Councils. According to the EU legislation each river basin must have a river basin council. In Turkey the river basin councils have very recently set up in every 25 basins however requires capacity to run properly and the ministry is conducting training of trainers to build a certain level of capacity for those basin councils. 4 TEMA representatives have become members of those councils. Besides, a technical upgrade of operation is needed for the river basin management as well. Identification of problems of the river basins and the water quality is outdated and require an EU competency in terms of conservation approach, measurement techniques and reference values.

2. Ground and Surface Water Management
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3. Ground and Surface Water Management
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4. Underground Waters
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5. Drinking Waters
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6. Industrial and Agriculture Waters
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7. Flood Risk Management
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8. Waste Water Treatment
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9. Sea Waters
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10. Water Pollution
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11. Sea Waters
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2. Climate Change
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1. Green House Gas Emissions
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2. Paris Agreement & Adhering Conventions
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3. National and Local Action Plans/ Strategies
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4. Mitigation and Adaption Measures
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3. Horizontal Legislation
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1. Public Access to Environmental Inform.
Legislation:

Law On The Right of Access to Information, (Law No: 4982), came into force on 24/10/2003, regulating the procedure and the basis of the right to information Revision to the Article 74 of the Constitution, granting every citizens the right to request information

Implementation:

Turkey has not signed the Aarhus Convention, yet and consequently, Turkey has not yet aligned with the acquis on issues such as access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.

Legislation Gaps:

Implementation Gaps:

The deadlines for providing Information are not respected by the institutions, or the quality of the information is low when deadline is met. Institutions do not have enough capacity to respond the requests in time. The enforcement remains weak.

2. Public Participation
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3. Environmental Impact Assessment
Legislation:

Since the adoption EIA Regulation in 1993, it has been changed in total 18 times, 6 of which is complete change. Current regulation is dated 25.11.2014 with no 29186. Last change to the regulation has been made on 09.02.2016

Implementation:

With changes and included exemptions in the Regulation itself and dismantling through other Laws in Force, EIA Regulation has turned into a formality rather than an environmental check on projects.

Legislation Gaps:

Implementation Gaps:

According to statistics, Republic of Turkey Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, in the period between 1993 and 2015, out of 56521 applications, 51200 have been granted with “no EIA is required” decision, 4501 have been granted a positive EIA decision and only 43 applications are granted with a negative decision.

4. Strategic Environmental Assessment
Legislation:

SEA Regulation draft has been prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanism.

Implementation:

There is no current legislation on SEA. Alignment with EU SEA Directive is still pending

Legislation Gaps:

Implementation Gaps:

There is still need to increase administrative capacity. There is a lack of interest from other ministries which may have stakes in investment projects.

5. Environmental Liability
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6. Environmental Protection / Mitigation
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4. Air Quality
1. Ambient and Urban Air Quality Framework
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2. Emissions form Waste
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3. Emissions from Transport Sector
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4. Emissions from Industry and Agriculture
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5. Emissions from Housing Sector
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5. Waste Management
1. Waste Framework
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2. Sewage and Sludge
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3. Hazardous Waste
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4. Industrial Waste
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5. Inert Waste
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6. Electronic Waste
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Waste Treatment (Incineration, Landfill)
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6. Noise & Light Pollution
1. Assessment and Management of Noise
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2. National and Local Action Plans/ Strategies
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3. Assessment and Management of Lighting Standards
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4. National and Local Action Plans/ Strategies
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7. Chemicals and GMO's
1. REACH (Regulation on Registration, Evaluation Authorizations and Restriction of Chemicals
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2. Plant protection products
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3. Biocides
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4. Import and Exports of Chemicals
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5. Persistent Organic Pollutants
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6. Genetically Modified Organisms
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7. Food Safety
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8. Civil and Animal Protection
1. Control of Major Accident Hazards
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2. Information about pollution
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3. Risk and Emergency Management
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4. Animal Rights
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9. Circular Economy
1. Sustainable Resource Management
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2. Business Operations
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3. Societal Behavior
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10. Energy
1. Renewable Energy Directive
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2. Energy Efficiency Directive
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3. Energy Classification / Performance
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4. Energy Performance of Buildings
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5. Shift from Fossil to Renewables
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6. Energy in Mobility and Public Services Sector
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11. Wildlife and Nature Protection
1. Habitat Directives
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2. Marine Strategy Framework
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3. Endangered Species
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4. Protected Areas
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5. Biodiversity
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