Producers lobby in Ankara bid to halt controversial draft law on olive groves

Producers lobby in Ankara bid to halt controversial draft law on olive groves

Representatives from Turkey’s olive industry met two top officials on June 7 in a bid to halt a contentious draft law, which will make it possible for the building of industrial facilities on olive groves if “public interest” can be imputed under the supervision of a preservation board. 

Sector players met Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Faruk Çelik and Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü in Ankara. 

They discussed leaving out the olive regulation from the production reform package in order to redesign it in the upcoming period by consulting with all parties, according to sources close to the matter. 

Another option is to make revisions on the existing draft law, which envisages bringing about reforms to industrial production. 

A final decision will be reached after a meeting is held with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, according to sources. 

The parliament commission on May 31 decided to establish an “Olive Grove Preservation Board” to supervise investments on olive oil groves and prepare reports on investment demands, which will be headed by city governors under the guidance of the agriculture minister. 

On June 7, the negotiating parties also discussed the inclusion of sector representatives on the board, according to sources. 

Turkey faced a heated debate over the fate of its olive trees last week during voting on a production reform draft in parliament. 

Although some provisions were left out by the government amid strong opposition from various parts of society, a number of key provisions remained the same, to the extent that “olive trees will no longer be subject to legal protection,” according to opposition groups and sector players.