On 20 August 2016, the Turkish parliament passed Law No. 6745 which is a “bag law” covering many issues related to investments. Article 80 of the law has raised serious concern among the public and is specifically protested by many environmentalists. This article will potentially lead to exemptions from licences, permissions and appropriations to projects deemed as strategic investments. Environmental NGOs are concerned that Article 80 will ease up the process of Environmental Impact Assessment.
This new Article aims to speed up the assessment processes that large scale and strategic investments go through, limits the parliament’s responsibilities and lets the cabinet take over the parliament’s responsibilities and power over the approval process. Furthermore, the article authorizes the cabinet to eliminate assesment processes when necessary.
The article includes incentives that cover reduction or even elimination of payment of income tax, and customs tax, also reduction or elimination of interests for investment credits and grants for staff wages.
All of the above mentioned issues in the newly introduced Article 80 in Act No. 6745 raise concerns about the negative impact of new investments to the environmental assessment processes and elimination of necessary authorizations with the consent of the cabinet.
Env.net Team in TEMA Foundation closely observes and monitors the updates regarding this new law with concerns.
On 19 September 2016, Turkey’s largest environmental trial, which has 751 real and legal entities including TEMA Foundation as complainants and 61 lawyers representing them, was held in Rize Administrative Court.
To give a brief introduction about the lawsuit: the struggle in Artvin started in early 90s when gold was first discovered in the area. Due to the geographical uniqueness of the area and the reported effects of any type of mining in the area, the local people protested against gold mining activities, and they supported their struggle with scientific evidence revealing the drastic destruction of any kind of mining activity would have on the area. Artvin Cerattepe is located in a National Park, which is a registered national natural protection area; the area is also internationally protected in framework of Rio, CITES and Bern Agreements. Artvin is home to protected fauna and flora types with 1400 plant species including 125 endemic and 77 rare plants species.
The trial on 19th September was on the annulment of the positive EIA report and the complainants’ lawyers ordered a stay of execution. During the trial the lawyers of the complainants presented numerous arguments on the irreversible destruction that the planned mining activities would cause, provided scientific evidence for these arguments. The trial ended unresolved because the complainants’ lawyers challenged the impartiality of the panel of judges. The decision for this challenge is still pending.
Here are some updates of the ENV.net subgrantees, as their projects approach the end.
Within the Legendary Pallid Scoops Owl (Bilecik-Urfa), school presentations are continuing. Upon demand by school principles, 4th and 5th grade students are included in the presentations.
Şanlıurfa Municipality, Birecik Municipality, City Directorate of Food Agriculture and Livestock, Directorate on Conservation of Natural Habitats joined the CSO representatives on the field study of populus euphratica oliver trees since these are the habitat areas of the owls. A joint workshop on Pallid Scoops Owls will be organized with the cooperation of authorities.
ENV.net second subgrantee from Turkey that carries the “Beautiful City, Clean Sea Van” Representatives from the organization attended the 4th of September ENV.net roundtable in Ankara and presented their project to participants.
They also meeted with 40 teachers with the invitation of Ministry of Education and ÇEKUD (Environmental Organizations Cooperation Association) on 2-5 September 2014 for a Trainer of Trainers program.