Nature of Turkey is under threat from a new draft law: “Draft Law on Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity” has been approved by the Council of Minister’s and became an agenda item for the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA – TBMM). If the draft law is accepted as it is, this will open the door for irreversible destructions for the country’s nature.

Olympus-Beydaglari National Park, Turkey

Although the Draft Law on Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity, during its initial preparation stage, in 2003, included the support and substantive input from NGOs and CSOs, the finalized version to be discussed in the TGNA today, has undergone tremendous changes in its fundamental approach, principles and content and has excluded and disregarded civil society views. Therefore we, 73 leading civil society organizations, established the Nature Law Watch Initiative to provide our opinions and fight against this draft law. Among these 73 institutions, are the very institutions involved in the preparation of the earlier draft, as well as others foreseeing the drafts potential to adversely affect Turkey’s nature, fundamental scientific conservation approach, implementation and sanctions.

If the Draft Law on Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity is approved;

1. Turkey will have NO legal structure conserving the nature in line with principles accepted worldwide: Constructed within international and national legislation in the last 20 years, concepts such as “sustainability”, “conservation-use balance”, “overriding public benefit” that aim conservation of biodiversity, have been inadequately and obscurely defined in the aforementioned law. These concepts presenting the main approach of the law, have been re-defined in a way to open the path for utilisation of these resources including investments with nature devastation potential, instead of conserving biodiversity.

2. Over 1000 conservation areas in Turkey will lose their “Natural Site” status, allowing these areas to be destructed Natural Sites are the reason we still have pristine coastal areas in Turkey. Moreover, many interventions within Natural Sites and harm nature, including hydro electricity power plants(HEPPs), can be prevented by Board of Protection and courts of law. The Draft Law on Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity, approved by the Council of Ministers, if approved by the TGNA, will abolish Natural Site status and the existing independent Board of Protection Local Committee’s will cease to have any authority on these areas. With this new legislation, the fate of 1234 Natural Site’s in Turkey will be left to a new committee, largely composed of representatives from public institutions. The conversion of this conservation status to a newly defined status under a different law, without the necessary scientific and legal preparations, is an error. This conversion effort without the participation of legal experts and stakeholders, could only aim to, obliterate the existing legal advantages, to eliminate the Board of Protection local mechanism and to ease the path of investments and illegal shanty settlements that destroy nature. This becomes particularly meaningful when considered together with the speed of the draft arriving to the TGNA agenda, only days after the designation of İkizdere Valley as a Natural Site area.

3. Legally, no matter how destructive towards nature, investments such as mining, urbanisation, energy etc. will achieve privilege: The initial approach of the law, which was to provide holistic direction to all conservation efforts, address threats over protected areas and/or biodiversity and provide solutions to conflicts arising from other sectors such as mining, urbanisation and energy, has completely changed. Moreover, the fact that the number of articles in the draft law has been reduced to half and that all definitive and implementation oriented critical issues have been left to regulations to be drafted at a later stage, seriously weakens the main aim and effectiveness of the draft.

These 3 main losses mean the loss of nature conservation works and their achievements. Nature Law Watch Initiative, with 73 leading Civil Society Organizations demand;

  1. That this draft to be withdrawn and to initiate drafting of a new law for taking care of nature and wildlife,
  2. hat during this process, the rights of nature and international commitments to be honoured,
  3. nd that, during both the preparation and implementation, CSOs and NGOs are included in the process.

For more info: Hüsrev Özkara, Spokesperson on behalf of the Initiative Phone: 0 533 394 47 11

NGOs Supporting the Initiative

1. Adana Gençlik Birliği Derneği
2. Akyaka Kent Konseyi
3. Asin ve Mandalya Körfezlerini Koruma Platformu
4. Bartın Çevre Meclisi
5. Bodrum Mavi Yol Girişimi
6. Boğatepe Çevre ve Yaşam Derneği
7. Buğday Ekolojik Yaşamı Destekleme Derneği
8. Buldan Doğal Hayatı ve Kültürünü Koruma Derneği
9. Çevre Ekoloji ve Yaban Yaşamı Destekleme Derneği
10. Çevre Hukuku Derneği
11. Çevre ve Kültürel Değerlerini Koruma ve Tanıtma Vakfı (ÇEKÜL)
12. Çiğ Süt Üreticileri ve Süt ve Süt Ürünleri Tüketicileri Grubu
13. Datça Çevre ve Turizm Derneği
14. Demokratik Eğitimciler Sendikası
15. Deveciuşağı Çevre Koruma ve Kalkınma Derneği
16. Doğa Derneği
17. Doğa Koruma Merkezi
18. Doğa Koruma Vakfı
19. Doğa ve Çevre Vakfı
20. Doğa ve Çevre Derneği
21. Doğa ve Çevre Dostu Amatör Oltacılar Derneği
22. Doğa ve Yaban Hayatı Koruma Derneği
23. Doğal Hayatı Koruma Vakfı/ WWF Türkiye
24. Doğal ve Tarihi Değerleri Koruma Derneği
25. Doğal Yaşam Derneği
26. Doğayı ve Çevreyi Koruma Derneği (DOĞADER)
27. Edirne Doğa Sporları Kulübü Derneği
28. Ege Derneği
29. Ege Orman Vakfı
30. Ekolojik Tarım Organizasyonu Derneği
31. Ekolojik Yaşam Derneği
32. Ekosistemi Koruma ve Doğa Sevenler Derneği
33. Emanetçiler Derneği
34. Eskişehir Çevre Derneği
35. Gökova Akyakayı Sevenler Derneği
36. Greenpeace Akdeniz
37. GÜMÇED Edremit Körfez Şubesi
38. Gürsel Tonbul Çiftlik İşletmesi
39. Halk Kültür Sanat ve Eğitim Derneği
40. Hayvan Hakları Federasyonu
41. Hayvanların Yaşam Haklarını Koruma Derneği
42. İklim İçin Gençlik Girişimi
43. Karadeniz Doğa Koruma Federasyonu
44. Karadeniz Yazarlar Birliği Derneği
45. Kirazlı Ekolojik Yaşam Derneği
46. Kolaylaştırıcı Dernek
47. Kuş Araştırmaları Derneği
48. KuzeyDoğa Derneği
49. Küre Dağları Ekoturizm Derneği
50. Mezopotamya Doğa Platformu
51. Mimarlar Odası İstanbul Büyükkent Şubesi
52. Nilüfer Kent Konseyi
53. Osmaniye Çevre Platformu
54. Proje Evi
55. Slow Food Fikir Sahibi Damaklar Hareketi
56. Slow Food Ankara Birliği
57. Slow Food Yağmur Böreği Birliği
58. Sualtı Araştırmaları Derneği
59. Sürdürülebilir Kırsal ve Kentsel Kalkınma Derneği
60. Tarımsal Kalkınma Derneği
61. Toplum Sağlığı Araştırma ve Geliştirme Merkezi Derneği
62. Toprak Ana Platformu
63. Türkiye Çevre Koruma ve Yeşillendirme Kurumu
64. Türkiye Erozyonla Mücadele, Ağaçlandırma ve Doğal Varlıkları Koruma Vakfı
65. Türkiye Ormancılık Kooperatifleri Merkez Birliği
66. Türkiye Tabiatını Koruma Derneği (TTKD)
67. Validebağ Gönüllüleri Derneği
68. Warriors of the World (WOFTHEW)
69. Yağcılar ve Demircili Köyleri Çevre Derneği (YADEM)
70. Yaşam Alanlarını Koruma ve Yaşatma Derneği
71. Yenişehir Çevre Hareketi
72. Yeşil Artvin Derneği
73. Yuva Derneği

Work area: 
Protected Areas
Protected Areas
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