Council of State sued for opening vast area in north to construction

Council of State sued for opening vast area in north to construction

Bülent Sarıoğlu – BOLU
Council of State sued for opening vast area in north to construction Turkey’s top engineers and architects union has filed a case against the Turkish Council of State in order to revoke the latter’s ruling, which opened a spacious natural area in the western province of Bolu to construction, daily Hürriyet has reported.

The Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) filed the case into the Council of State’s Aug. 22 ruling that opened a 510-million-square-meter (about 128 million acres) forested area covering four districts in Bolu to construction, stating in its case petition that opening the area to construction violated the Turkish constitution and six international agreements Turkey has signed promising to “protect its natural heritage.”

The area was opened to construction as it was listed as an initiative for tourism and nature sports investments, the TMMOB stated, adding that it “lies through the Dörtdivan, Kıbrıscık, Seben and central districts of Bolu, and encompasses the Kartalkaya Ski Complex, the Karacasu Thermal Center, Lake Seben Taşlıkaya and the Aladağ pond.”

Filing the case to revoke and annul the execution of the ruling, the TMMOB stated in the case petition that the area contained by the Köroğlu Forests was a “seed transfer zone” and bore “critical importance for ecology and biological stability” and that opening it to construction “violates” the United Nations’ Convention Concerning the Protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage, the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity, the European Landscape Convention, the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe and the Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.

“Forests are the main component for water generation in sustainable ecologies. Gene resources and sediment accumulation areas are being destroyed as wet areas with multiple benefits are being dried by the state itself with state authorization for construction projects. All the investments planned for areas important for the water ecosystem are against public interest,” the TMMOB stated.

The TMMOB reiterated in the case petition that Turkey was one of the countries severely affected by global climate change and that sacrificing forests in return for short-sighted, unsustainable economic activities had nothing to do with the public good. 

“Any tourism facility and access roads will cause the formation of heat islands, when it is considered that Turkish forests produce 38.7 million tons of oxygen a year,” it said, adding, “The amount of carbon in Turkish forests was already 1.6 billion tons by 2012 and the forestall area in the Bolu province exceeds 1/1000 of the total forestall area in the country.”

The TMMOB stated the area opened to construction for tourism investments was a basin where water and forest ecologies worked together, and also that construction and intense vehicular traffic in the area would lead to unrecoverable damages.