2 June 2010
TURKEY'S ENVIRONMENTAL AGENDA ON THE WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
(Assist. Prof., Marmara University, Department of Political Science and International Relations)
Tanay Sıdkı Uyar
(Prof., Marmara University, Coordinator of Turkey Environmental NGOs Platform, KADOS)
(Campaigner, Greenpeace Turkey)
(Communication Coordinator, Doğa Derneği)
(Former Co-Speaker, Greens of Turkey)
MURCIR held a Panel titled “Turkey’s Environmental Agenda on the World Environment Day” on the occasion of World Environment Day (WEO) on June 2, 2010. The WEO 2010 focused on biodiversity with its official slogan of “Many Species, One Planet, One Future”, to honor the “International Year of Biodiversity”. MURCIR’s Panel was an important contribution to the celebrations of WEO in Turkey as it provided a forum to assess the state of the environment and environmental policies in Turkey from civil society perspective by bringing together environmental NGOs active in nature protection and environmental advocacy in the country. The Panel was also intended to hear the experiences of NGOs having extensive international links with the other environmental organizations abroad, directly participating into the international processes and working actively in the country. The panel was also a timely event to discuss with the NGOs the implications on the state of the environment after opening of negotiations on the Environment Chapter with the EU.
Prof. Tanay Sıdkı Uyar from Marmara University, the coordinator of Turkey Environmental NGOs Platform and the President of KADOS (Kadıköy Bilim, Kültür ve Sanat Dostları Derneği) was the first speaker of the Panel. In his speech, Prof. Uyar dwelled extensively on the relationship between neo-liberal policies and environmental deterioration. He discussed possible threats arising from displacement of obsolete, end-of-use technologies to developing countries in general and in Turkey in particular. He pointed out the danger of Turkey becoming a junkyard for polluting technologies. He, in this sense, also drew attention to implications of Turkey’s EU accession process. Prof. Uyar then gave information about activities of KADOS and TÜRÇEP (Turkey Environmental Platform). He underlined the important role that civil society organizations play in the EU accession process and highlighted KADOS’s participation in the NGO Forum initiated by European Commission.
The next speaker was Ms. Emel Türker from Greenpeace Turkey. She elaborated the environmental problems facing the Mediterranean Sea focusing particularly on the threats against marine reserves and fish stocks. Ms. Türker shared information about Greenpeace’s campaign on bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean. She then shortly outlined other Greenpeace campaigns and activities.
Mr. Yücel Sönmez of Doğa Derneği was the third panelist. He began his speech by inviting the audience to join him in an exercise on our thinking about the concept of nature. This collective exercise helped the audience critically reflect on how the nature is constructed in our perceptions. Mr. Sönmez also informed on Doğa Derneği’s activities in the field and the international fora. He then shortly touched upon their efforts in the Turkey Water Assembly, an advocacy initiative bringing together several NGOs with water related activities.
Mr. Hüseyin Güngör of Green Party, Turkey, began his speech by underlining the distinct features of the Party in terms of its goals and structure, including gender parity and the importance of links with grassroots. After elaborating on Party’s policies on major issues in its program, he presented Green Party’s views on some of Turkey’s longstanding political issues. He also shared information about preparations for the Party’s first Congress which was to take place in couple of days from the date of the Panel.