Excess street noise in Turkey set to rise with new amendment

Excess street noise in Turkey set to rise with new amendment

Aysel Alp - ANKARA
Excess street noise in Turkey set to rise with new amendment

DHA Photo

The decibel count of the Turkish street is set to get a whole lot higher after authorities overturned bylaws prohibiting excess noise emanating from drum-heavy gatherings such as street weddings and send-offs for soldiers.

Open-air and home weddings, as well as farewells to young men ahead of their enlistment in the military, have all been delisted from a series of items banned according to the law, daily Hürriyet reported.

The ministry said in a written statement that the amendment was passed on the grounds that supervision over the events in question does not have to be conducted centrally but can be determined at a more local level by the police and municipal patrol officers.

Street weddings are common in Turkey as citizens can invite friends, relatives and acquaintances in large numbers more cheaply than if the nuptials were in a hotel or any other place designated for wedding ceremonies. 

Many young men are also sent off to mandatory military service in raucous ceremonies, particularly among more nationalist sections of society. 

But the amendment to the regulation, titled “The Environment and Urban Planning Ministry Environmental Noise Management and Assessment,” has drawn criticism from several parties, who say the move will increase the level of outdoor obnoxious noise.

“Noise pollution will increase, day by day,” said environmental engineers from the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), criticizing the latest amendment.

The ministry also said in its statement that open-air activities that might lead to excess noise near residential areas, schools and hospitals, as well as performances, concerts, meetings, demonstrations and festivals, would be banned between 12 a.m. and 7 a.m., as such hours have been designated as sleeping hours. 

The use of fireworks, sparklers and other explosives for celebratory purposes would be banned near residences, schools and hospitals, but would be tolerated in mass celebrations for religious and nationally important days and public festivals, the ministry said. 

Baran Bozoğlu, the head of Ankara University’s Research Center for Environmental Issues, said the new amendment was a setback, recalling his previous statement that the most strikingly positive item in the latest European Union report on Turkey’s EU accession process was the “fight against noise pollution.” 

The ban on campaign buses, sound systems and loudspeakers in the run-up to elections was also lifted with an amendment less than a month after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called on all parties to endorse a joint stance toward noise pollution during election campaigning.